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Construction Begins On 200 MW Solar Project In Gobi Desert — China’s Largest Solar Energy Facility To Date

Construction has now begun on the 200 megawatt (MW) solar energy project being developed in China’s Gobi Desert, according to recent reports. The facility is currently slated to be the largest solar energy project in the country once completed — with a nameplate capacity of 200 MW, and a project area of 2,550 hectares.

Once completed, the 200 MW facility in Qinghai province is expected to produce enough electricity to provide for the needs of up to 1 million regional households — according to Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group. The facility is also expected to reduce regional coal use by 4.26 tones a year — thereby offsetting carbon dioxide emissions of 896,000 tonnes, and sulphur dioxide emissions by 8,080 tonnes a year.

China flag

The facility is of a “solar energy tower” design, and will feature better efficiencies and energy storage than the more commonly used solar trough systems, according to those involved.

“Its designed heat storage is 15 hours, thus, it can guarantee stable, continual power generation,” noted group board chair Wu Longyi.

The 200 MW solar energy facility will also be the eastern country’s first large-scale solar project under commercial operation — as noted by the vice director of Qinghai’s development and reform commission, Yu Mingzhen.

The project represents just the latest in the country’s push towards renewables, and solar energy in particular. As it stands, China is aiming to grow to 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by the year 2020, up from around 28 GW in 2014. Despite how nice those numbers sound, it should probably be noted here that renewables still only represent a tiny fraction of total Chinese electricity generation capacity — coal still remains king there. Though, hopefully, the tide is now turning.

Image Credit: Public Domain

 
 
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Written By

James Ayre'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.

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