One reason I wanted to talk to you is because you seem like you’re very about collaboration. I agree, it’s important for how we move forward like a species, but I’m not very good at it. I’ve traditionally done things myself and have powered forward.
It’s more of this idea that I’ve been developing. Over the last two years I’ve worked out in Humei. We built a small pizza manufacturing factory, and every day I drive out towards Longjing, to the sea, the power plant.
As I’ve driven out there, and I see all this agricultural land and the way that it’s spatially oriented, I’ve seen this opportunity to use agrivoltaics of putting solar panels in farm fields to feed into these local…
The big problem here is that the COA doesn’t want to build any fixed in farm fields, but I’ve been having this idea of if you could create solar panels that could be redeployed within an area that could be then moved around to work within agricultural cycles…
The idea is that you would have this system that would be managed by…To me, what actually excites me the most isn’t the production of energy. It’s more of like I see this like a rural community development project.
It’s like you create a system with a government body looking over like we’re agricultural co-ops. I call them agro-electric co-ops. They look at managing the land as well as managing the rotation of these solar panels.
In this process, I’ve got an untraditional background. I went to school for geography, and I came out here and I started a pizza place. Now me and my wife opened up this factory, and it’s just us figuring out how to do it like restaurant, and a factory arguably is harder, but they’re all attainable, like I’m able to do it. This idea I have is way beyond my scope here.
Especially in Taitung, there is a strong sense of community renewal, when it comes to not only the Taromak, which is I think Rukai, but in Taitung there’s Amis, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Kavalan, also Tao — on the island — and so on.
There’s more than 183 different indigenous places. That’s actually easier, because for the ethnic Han changing the land’s purpose from arable to industrial or, as you said, part-time, like timesharing between arable and industrial, it is a very instrumental thing, utilitarian thing.
Exactly, exactly. In the indigenous use, we already have existing laws and regulations that promotes the forming of co-ops, especially labor co-ops. For example, like fixing the electricity setting up, those GST wires and things like that.
One thing to me is that a lot of what I need to know is way outside of my expertise, and I don’t know how to necessarily gain access to that. Do I have to go to school for land planning to even start doing this, or what is a way to get research done?
Maybe you can just join one of those co-ops of powering up. There are existing structures like the Homemakers’ Union. They are setting up co-ops for this kind of work. There’s also a social enterprise, the name is 陽光伏特家.
You pay upload a bit to own a stake at one of the sites of the solar panels, and you eventually earn back, or if you want, you can also donate to a charity. Instead on one-time donation, you can try to help them to set up those photovoltaic panels, and then of course as a fellow donor you can visit them and share them up.
Either through the Homemakers’ Union front or through the Sunny Founder front that gets you immediate access to this co-op or co-op-like structure. Of course, you can also visit Taramak. [laughs] They’ve got quite a few visitors.
For me to do this, it involves me having to change my life, kind of. One thing that makes me afraid is like is this even possible? Is this something that can even happen in Taiwan? Is it worth my time and effort?
Maybe you can talk to the three, the indigenous part, the co-op part, and also the social enterprise part, and explore whether that feels like a agreeable lifestyle to you, and make your own decisions.
It’s true that in Taiwan we are still at a piloting phase, but that’s also because the photovoltaic arrays along the coast becomes bearable or even competitive only in the past few years. This is a very new thing for all of us, actually for around the world, too.
Absolutely. A lot of what I’ve been doing is going and trying to talk to people that are way smarter than me to see if it’s something that seems…Basically, I’ve been trying to have people poke holes in my idea, and it seems…
Every year I go out and give award to the organizations, including companies and public sector organizations, that have bought a lot of products and services from the sustainable suppliers. Those suppliers, including circular economy and things like that, all have to make their impact reports, and so…
It’s mostly the people. The people here, as I mentioned, there’s a lot of different national languages, so the indigenous perspectives, the ethnic Han have at least three or more perspectives and so on.
In order to make progress, it has to be transcultural meaning that we can’t do what some other jurisdiction does, which is to a point a sector or a certain industry and say, “You know, you’re going to be our bet, and everybody sacrifice for you.”