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Tibetan Herdsman Switching From "Ghee" to Solar Energy for Light

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 00/11/25; November 25, 2000.]

BEIJING, Nov 24, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Tibetan herdsmen are lighting up their tents with solar energy lamps instead of "ghee" -- a special cream used in temples for lighting -- to maximize the vast amount of sunlight in the rooftop of the world, state media said Friday.

Solar energy has become widely used for lighting and cooking in Tibet as herdsmen learn to save costs, the Xinhua news agency reported.

In one township, Xiongpa in Ali prefecture, for example, more than 80 percent of local herdsmen are using solar energy lamps.

"Lighting solar energy lamps can save my family some 50 kilograms of ghee annually. It's brighter than in the past," said Guisang, a Tibetan herdsman in his 60s.

Ali, 4,500 meters above the sea level, is rich in solar energy resources.

The prefecture has more than 100 greenhouses for growing vegetables, covering 10,000 square meters, over 30 solar energy power stations with a combined capacity of 200 kilowatts and some 100 wells, which use solar energy to pump water for 3,000 local families and 340,000 heads of livestock.

Solar energy has also been used in transmitting TV programs in the region.

Tibet, located on the "roof of the world", has the most sunshine in China with over 3,000 hours annually.

The regional government plans to make the development of solar energy a pillar industry in the region.

By early next century, the industry is expected to provide electricity for more than 1.6 million herdsmen, two-thirds of Tibet's total population, according to Xinhua.

Statistics show that various solar energy facilities now in operation in Tibet can save conventional energy resources equaling 120,000 tons of standard coal annually, Xinhua said.


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