China brings the world’s largest solar power plant online


The state-owned Power Construction Corp. of China has brought a 5 GW solar power plant into commercial operation, with the project taking over the status of the world’s largest operational photovoltaic (PV) facility. The solar park, which went into operation on June 3, is located in a desert area of ​​China’s northwestern Xinjiang province, near the provincial capital Urumqi. It is located on approximately 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres). The new facility exceeds the generation capacity of the world’s next two largest solar farms: the 3-GW Ningxia Tenggeli, built by Longyuan Power Group, and the 3-GW Golmud Wutumeiren, built by China Lufa Qinghai New Energy. Both facilities are also located in western China. China is the world leader in renewable energy generation, including solar energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its 2023 annual report that the addition of solar energy to the country increased by 116% between 2022 and 2023. The agency says solar energy accounts for about 75% of the new renewable energy capacity that came online globally in the past year. , noting that China will have deployed as much PV capacity in 2022 as the rest of the world combined. The IEA report states: “China accounts for almost 60% of the new renewable energy capacity expected to be operational globally by 2028. China’s role is crucial in achieving the global target of tripling renewable energy sources, as the country is expected to install more than half of the new capacity. is needed worldwide by 2030. By the end of the forecast period, almost half of China’s electricity generation will come from renewable energy sources. Power Construction Corp. said the Xinjiang plant will generate about 6.1 billion kWh of electricity annually. Xinjiang province is a sparsely populated area in China known for its solar and wind energy resources, and home to what China calls “megabase projects.” The region is a hub for Chinese renewable energy installations, with much of the country’s electricity sent to the more densely populated areas in the eastern part of China. The megabase projects, first announced in 2021, are part of China’s plan to install 455 GW of solar and wind energy in the coming years. —Darrel Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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