SEOUL, Nov. 2 (UPI) — North Korea‘s chronic power shortages are a serious problem in a country where blackouts are a common occurrence, but North Koreans in a seaport town are responding to the fuel scarcity through innovation.
Pyongyang’s state-controlled media network KCNA reported the city of Nampo’s Science and Technology Commission has been operating a public bus powered by solar panels, Yonhap reported.
Jong said the bus was equipped with a series-parallel combination circuit in order for electricity to travel through all components and regulate the power flows.
“At 800 kilowatts, with 70 passengers and up to a maximum of 140 passengers, we can guarantee a bus can travel at 25 mph,” Jong told KCNA, according to South Korean television network KBS.
The commission chairman said that local residents have provided positive feedback on the solar-powered bus and that it is being used regularly as a mode of transportation in the city.
North Korea has been developing solar-powered sources of energy, in response to recurring power shortages in the country.
In June, a Swiss diplomat in Pyongyang said it takes an hour to boil water and two hours to heat an oven to 200 degrees. Power outages are responsible for a long list of inconveniences that have blighted the country for 30 consecutive years.
North Korea produces less than 5 percent of power generated in South Korea, but has roughly a population of 24.9 million.