China, the world's largest greenhouse emitter, has produced an unlikley environmental hero. Known as the "Solar King" 52-year-old Huang Ming is a passionate green energy visionary.
Recently awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize, Ming is one of the world's solar technology pioneers. Established in 1995, his company Himin has sold over 200 million solar water heaters and is one of the largest producers of solar energy in the world.
"Western lifestyle is totally wrong," Ming told a room of budding entrepreneurs in Sweden, recently. 'Why don't they buy solar cells for their swimming pools?"
The unassuming billionaire says his hopes for a cleaner earth were inspired by the birth of his daughter 25 years ago. "After she was born, I worked hard to find a way out of the world's unsustanaible growth and wastage of energy," he says.
As a petroleum engineer, Ming understood that fossil oil was running out and its increased use was warming the earth. "I went to the library and all the books there were on solar energy," he recalls.Using his salary at China's Petroleum Research Institute to secretly fund his private study, he learned all he could about designing solar cells.
The research led him to found Himin and a solar valley in Dezhou, one of the world's largest solar development projects. Himin's slogan in Chinese is: 'For a blue sky and white clouds for your children, go solar".
There has been no looking back. In the past 20 years, Himin has rolled out billions of solar panels. More than 250 million people in China use solar energy to heat water and for electricity.
Huang Ming knows this all too well. He served as a National People's Congress delegate and was a key player in getting China's renewable energy law adopted in 2005, a task he admits was an uphill battle. The awards do not satisfy Ming, as he understands the formidable challenges ahead.
"We are only at the beginning, so don't talk about success yet." he says Asked about the future of his Himin solar company, Huang Ming waxes philosophical. "I don't care about the future of Himin Group, I care about the future of human beings."
Life in the sunshine, BHRIKUTI RAI
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