China to build world’s largest solar plant.



China, seeking to ease its dependence on coal to fuel its booming economy, said recently it will build the world’s largest solar power station in the poor but sunny northwestern province of Gansu. Planners chose the “oasis town” of Dunhuang for the solar plant. The 100 megawatt (mw) project would cost approximately 6.03 billion yuan ($766 million) and construction would take five years, Xinhua news agency said.

China’s economy is racing along at more than 10 percent a year and miners are struggling to meet booming demand for coal which fuels about 70 percent of the nation’s energy consumption.

China has also stepped up investment in energy projects abroad and nuclear power, keen to cut down on pollution which hits the maximum “hazardous” level in the capital fairly regularly.

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5 Responses to China to build world’s largest solar plant.

  1. Pete Smith says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how this news affects the global solar industry. Xinhua claimed the world’s largest solar power station was a 5mw project in Leipzig, Germany, with 33,500 solar panels. Scaling up to the announced 100mw would require 670,000 panels. There’s already a world shortage of solar-grade silicon, projected to last until at least 2009, and solar companies are jostling to consolidate their postions in the market.

    The US is home to more than half of the world’s polysilicon manufacturing, with 4 of the world’s top 7 polysilicon manufacturers based there. Global output is projected to increase from about 31,000 metric tons this year to 78,000 metric tons in 2010. Over the same period, module makers are expected to triple their use of polysilicon to meet increasing demand for solar power.

  2. matt says:

    Big growth going on in this sector. It’s young & anything can happen regards takeovers & wrong turns being made on investments in new technology innovations within the sector. As to the raw materials situation, maybe China & knows something the US/EU market intelligence doesn’t. The new plant is surrounded with regions of desert sands after all !

  3. Pete Smith says:

    Yes, theoretically. Polysilicon is made from sand, but needs expensive manufacturing facilities. Solar is competing with other industries like computer chips for this building-block material. Investors had been burned before by market slumps caused by over-supply, so even in 2005 when shortages were flagged, there was a shortage of investment. There’s also the threat of new technologies that use silicon at much lower densities or even don’t use it at all.

  4. Bart says:

    I love solar power I think over the next few years it’s going to be exploding even more… as performance of solar panels goes up people are going to be adopting it everywhere they can… after all it’s free energy 🙂 BTW here is more solar power information -> Solar Power

  5. matt says:

    Solar certainly is useful in sunny climates. Will look at your link in more detail Bart. Thanks. China seems to see solar as a good addition to their future energy mix. And they should know … as they’re the future right now 🙂

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