The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on Feb. 14 that it supplied 2,989 MW renewable energy facilities last year. The figure was 72 percent in excess of the target for 2018 set in the government’s Renewable Energy 3020 Plan.
"New facilities increased 19.8 percent compared to the previous year, showing that there is big potential for expansion of green energy supply," the ministry said. However, Korean made solar power generation devices and equipment have a dwindling share of the domestic market. Another problem is that demand for solar power systems zoomed up compared to KEPCO’s capabilities. As large-scale photovoltaic power plants have been built throughout Korea under the government’s push, controversies have been sparked off by local residents opposed to the construction of such power plants.
Although solar power generation facilities have expanded, the market share of domestic products is at a standstill. In the case of solar panels, Korean companies’ share in the domestic market dropped from 81.8 percent in 2014 to 72.5 percent in 2018, while that of Chinese companies grew from 17.5 percent in 2014 to about 27.5 percent in 2018. This is because demand for cheap Chinese products has been on the rise.
As large renewable energy complexes have been built in Korea, protests by residents in such areas have been growing. Residents are concerned about damage to the environment and landscapes in and around their villages. In particular, Korea Rural Community Corp.’s floating solar power generation system project is facing strong backlash nationwide. Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has temporarily suspended its plan to install floating solar power generation systems in 900 reservoirs nationwide by investing 7.5 trillion won.