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Clean Power first-solar-sets-solar-cell-record

Published on July 15th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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First Solar Calling Off Development Of 2 GW Solar PV Plant In Inner Mongolia

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July 15th, 2014 by  

first-solar-sets-solar-cell-recordOne of the largest solar PV companies in the world, First Solar, has finally officially decided to forgo its previous long-standing plans to develop a utility-scale 2 GW solar PV power plant in Inner Mongolia.

The 2 GW project had been slated for development in the Inner Mongolian city of Ordos City. For those that don’t know, Inner Mongolia isn’t actually part of modern Mongolia, but of China — the relatively resource-rich region is culturally rather distinct from what you might think of when imagining China.

The project has been in something of a state of limbo for the past few years — never really making it past the drawing board despite the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission having approved a pre-feasibility study for the construction of its first 30 MW phase all the way back in 2010.

The project was actually announced even further back, though, in September 2009. And there was even a fair bit of pomp accompanying its announcement — with President Obama and the Chinese President at the time, Hu Jintao, being present at the signing of an official project agreement. (Just goes to show, pomp doesn’t amount to much does it — projects live or die based more on their own merits and/or back-room deals.)

According to First Solar’s spokesperson, Steve Krum, despite the show, an agreement on the pricing of the electricity was never reached between First Solar and the Chinese authorities.


If the project had gone ahead, First Solar would have also constructed a manufacturing plant in the region in order to provide the solar modules for the power plant — quite an investment. The talk at the time was that such a development would have helped the American company break into the then nascent Chinese market.

“Due to the market environment, we aren’t going to pursue the Ordos project further,” Krum stated in an interview with Bloomberg. “The plant was never included in the company’s pipeline of contracted projects.”

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • JamesWimberley

    Grid connection, surely. The case for solar megafarms is dubious. By concept, they produce more than can be consumed locally, so new transmission lines and other grid integration gear has to be bought. You lost the output smoothing that comes automatically with dispersed sources. On the other side, there are few if any economies of scale above I suppose a hundred MW or so – the panels, mounts and inverters don’t change, you just put in more of them.

    The worst example of the unhealthy fascination with such overscaled projects is India’s plan for a 7.5 GW megafarm in Ladakh, which consists of high, unpopulated mountains – as far from centres of population as it is possible to get in India.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Until China gets is pollution problem under control rooftop solar isn’t going to produce a lot in the polluted areas.

      I’m pretty sure China is building HVDC transmission to bring wind electricity from Inner Mongolia. Perhaps the solar mega farm is piggybacking on that line.

      • Matt

        Just got back from 2.5 weeks in China, and except for a couple hours in the morning after a all night rain I never saw the sky. But the sun burns thru enough to make things hot. There are a lot of flat factory roofs.

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