China began work on $10.1bn worth of photovoltaic farms in its northwest Qinghai Province over the weekend. When complete, they will generate almost 11GW of electricity.
Meanwhile, work also began on a single project in Kubuqi, Inner Mongolia, which is expected to generate 2GW, making it the fifth largest in the world.
The start of the projects was announced at the 15th conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Kunming, southern China, last week. The Global Times newspaper commented that they were intended to support the country’s environmental protection goals.
The schemes are intended to have a secondary role in halting desertification in the arid northern regions, since they will act as windblocks to prevent the movement of sand dunes onto non-desert areas.
The Kubuqi plant is being developed by two state-owned enterprises: Elion and Three Gorges New Energy. When complete in 2025, it will be connected to a 300MW battery.
At present the largest single solar facility in the world is Bhadla Solar Park in India, which has a generating capacity of 2.25GW, just ahead of the Huanghe Hydropower Hainan Solar Park, also in Qinghai, which has 2.2GW.
Image: Qinghai, made up of the Tibetan regions of Amdo and Kham, has around 3,180 hours of sunlight a year (Tiger/CC BY-SA 3.0)