Dubbed the ‘Solar King of China’ although he prefers the ‘Number one solar crazy guy’, Huang Ming has for the past 30 years been working on a solar revolution for a cleaner future. In the city of Dezhou (300km south of Beijing), he has built a solar city including solar research facilities, solar heater factories, a solar college, a low emission hotel and convention centre and solar housing.
His company Himin was set up to ensure his dream of integrating solar power into everyday lives. With it, he has developed ‘solar architecture’. This means that the photovoltaic or solar panels are integrated directly into building designs. The idea saves governments from finding space for solar farms, no loss of power through cables and the building design conserve energy. Among his innovations are a solar cooker which can heat food to make porridge or toast.
His inspiration came when, in 1985, he took his newly married wife to his home town after regaling her with stories of the town lake’s beauty. After seeing the polluted, dank and black lake upon arrival, he and his wife were taken aback at the disappointment. After the birth of his daughter, he began to worry about her future and decided to throw himself into the solar business. His dream of ‘people devoted to renewable energy sources around the world’ has yet to come to fruition. Despite creating 76% of China’s solar energy consumption, it still only amounts to 1% of energy consumed worldwide. When asked if he dreamt too big in a recent interview with the BBC, he replied “A little bit…but I don’t regret it”. China is currently one of the highest polluting countries in the world and has, along with the US pledged to cut pollution and drive renewables significantly into the future. He is also involved with many other projects worldwide with his work as a solar pioneer being recognised by the United Nations, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In 2011 Huang Ming received the Honorary Right Livelihood Award, known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ in Stockholm.