Construction has begun on a solar power plant in the sparsely populated north-western province of Qinghai that will generate enough power at peak times to supply a million households.
The 200MW plant will have a solar condenser design rather than using photovoltaics. The sunlight will be focused onto a central tower to produce steam for a turbine. Â
Wu Longyi, the chairman of the Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group, said: "It’s designed heat storage is 15 hours, so it can guarantee stable, continual power generation."
Once operational, the plant will cut coal use by 4.3 million tonnes a year. This will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 896,000 tonnes and sulphur dioxide by 8,080 tonnes, according to the Xinhua news agency.
Based in the Gobi Desert, the 2,550ha plant will be 2,870m above sea level.
Yu Mingzhen, the vice director of Qinghai development and reform commission, said the development would be China’s first large-scale solar power plant under commercial operation.
It was recently announced that Oman is to get the world’s biggest solar farm which would be used to make steam to process heavy crude oil.