SEOUL--South Korea's eco-friendly product exports surged 32 percent annually in the first four months of 2017, the government said Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, outbound shipments of such products as energy storage systems reached around US$148 million as of late April.

It said exports of EVs centered on the popular Ioniq and Soul reached 4,367 units worth $110 million in the first quarter, a gain of 9 percent from the year before. The Ioniq is Hyundai Motor Co.'s answer to the top selling Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf, while the Soul EV is electrified version of Kia Motors Corp.'s distinct box car.

Besides overseas sales, the ministry said there has been a spike in domestic demand for solar panels, wind power generators and other green energy products.

"In the January-April period total output of renewable power generating systems sold here hit 651 megawatts or 40 percent of the 1,616 MWs sold for the whole of last year," it said.

The ministry said because Seoul plans to offer incentives for such energy-saving products starting this month, local sales are expected to rise sharply.

EV sales in the country reached 1,806 units in the first quarter, an over eight-fold surge vis-a-vis the year before when sales stood at 223 vehicles.

Besides these areas, the ministry in charge of formulating the country's industrial and energy policies said the number of factories making use of so-called clean energy technology totaled 121 this year, with this to reach 500 by year's end.

These clean factories utilize the latest information and communication technology to make workplaces more energy efficient and raise productivity.

Source: Yonhap News Agency