A fishing village powered by the sun

A tiny fishing village on the coast of Hong Kong is revolutionizing the island’s solar industry. For centuries, the villagers of Tai O sustained themselves through fishing, drying their catch in the sun on their sheet-metal roofs.

The local branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an environmental nonprofit, realized that Tai O could be a perfect place to try out community-based solar projects. It partnered with three local fishing families to install solar panels on their roofs alongside their fish-drying spaces.

WWF used these successful pilots to lobby Hong Kong’s government for a feed-in tariff, a policy that would allow people with solar panels on their homes to sell the extra electricity they generate back to electric companies.

This would allow them to earn back the money they invested in the panels, and eventually, the tariff could significantly cut their electric bills.

The feed-in tariff passed in April 2017, a huge victory for Tai O and WWF. Read more about the project here.

Scott Brown

Scott Brown is a filmmaker from Philadelphia, and a recent graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. As a freelance filmmaker, he has made short films on Malaysian youth climate activists, black movements against police brutality in Chicago, and the health impacts of sugar on young children. He has also produced videos with Popular Science and La Nacion in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Contact him at scottbrown@u.northwestern.edu