Solar Panel Maker Restarts after Cleanup, Protests
Solar panel maker Jinko Solar Holding Co. has resumed production following a cleanup prompted by violent protests over pollution from one of its factories in eastern China.
Jinko Solar stopped production at its factory in Haining city, west of Shanghai, on Sept. 17 after hundreds of villagers staged protests, some storming the facility and overturning vehicles.
Authorities said the factory had failed to address earlier environmental complaints and that the protests followed mass fish deaths in late August due to runoff of flouride from heavy rains.
The company, whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, said in a statement Tuesday that the pollution resulted from extreme and unforeseen weather conditions. It said it has upgraded its environmental protection and plans a full audit of all of its facilities.
Police said 20 people were detained after the protests, which reflect the dirty side of clean energy. While use of solar power can reduce the need for burning heavily polluting coal and other fossil fuels, the process of producing photovoltaic cells uses various chemicals and materials that can also be toxic.
"We understand from this accident that we always need to think about extreme and unforeseen circumstances and generally enhance our risk management practices," Jinko's chairman, Li Xiande, said in the statement.