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Qaidam Basin enters “solar energy era”

01-18-2011 16:48 BJT

Rows and rows of solar panels with a shiny metallic luster located in the eastern suburbs of Golmud City present a magnificent spectacle in the vast desert of the Qaidam Basin. They convert abundant solar energy into electricity and provide adequate power supply for the construction of the first phase of a 20-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic power plant, in which China Guodian Corporation’s subsidiary Longyuan Golmud New Energy Development Company invested nearly 400 million yuan.

“Longyuan Golmud New Energy Development Company and the Golmud Municipal Government have signed the ‘Investment Agreement on the 200-MW Grid-connected Photovoltaic Power Plant Project in the Desert near Golmud.’ Under the agreement, the company will invest more than 4 billion yuan in the project,” said Liu Hong, general manager of the company.

The Qaidam Basin receives intense solar radiation. With an average of 3,100 hours of sunshine a year, the radiation the basin receives reaches 6,950 mega joules per square meter. Other advantages include the Huangwuge 330-kilovoltage two-circuit grid and the Qinghai-Tibet AC/DC Grid Interconnection Project which is still under construction. The Qinghai Science and Technology Department said after detailed research that the Qaidam Basin is the most suitable place in China for extra-large grid-connected solar power plants with an installed capacity of at least one gigawatt.

The Qinghai Provincial Government passed the “Qinghai Solar Energy Comprehensive Utilization Plan” in July 2009, aiming to build a large solar power base in the Qaidam Basin. The province’s photovoltaic industry has since witnessed rapid development. Golmud is rich in sunlight resources and has vast undeveloped desert areas, attracting many major power generation companies to invest in photovoltaic power generation projects in the city.

The first phase of Longyuan Golmud New Energy Development Company’s 20-MW photovoltaic power plant began construction in August 2009. At the same time, the Datang-Golmud 5-MW Photovoltaic Power Plant Project also started construction. The Datang Gansu Power Generation Company as well as Qinghai Development and Investment Company jointly invested 216 million yuan in the project. It was expected to be completed a year later, and will generate nearly 7.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year upon completion.

The Qinghai Provincial Development and Reform Commission approved China Huadian Corporation’s construction plan of a 10-MW solar power plant in Golmud on Feb. 24, 2010. The first phase of a 20-MW photovoltaic power plant, in which the State Development and Investment Corporation’s subsidiary Golmud Photovoltaic Power Generation Company invested 350 million yuan, began construction on Mar. 28. The fourth 5-MW photovoltaic module is expected to be installed and debugged in November and December of 2011, and the plant will be put into operation at the end of December.

A 10-MW photovoltaic power plant, in which Huaneng Power International Inc. invested 200 million yuan, began construction in Golmud on May 27, 2010. The first phase of the plant included a 5-MW grid-connected photovoltaic system, which can generate nearly 16.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year after it was completed at the end of 2010.

On Dec. 14, 2010, Qinghai Hydropower Group received approval from the provincial development and reform commission for the first phase of its 20-MW photovoltaic power plant project, and officially started pre-construction work.

“So far, 26 companies have submitted plans of building solar power plants in Golmud to the provincial development and reform commission, and 10 have received approval. The total installed capacity of the 26 companies’ plants in the city exceeds 3,500 megawatts. China Guodian’s 20-MW plant has been completed and put into use,” said Ma Shenghui, an official at the Golmud Investment Promotion Bureau.

Furthermore, in order to promote the development of new energy, Qinghai has taken the lead in developing technologies for interconnecting solar power plants with power grids. According to the “Qinghai Solar Energy Comprehensive Utilization Plan,” the province’s grids can admit 200 megawatts of solar power installations in 2010, and 1,000 megawatts by 2015.

According to the “Qinghai Solar Energy Comprehensive Utilization Plan,” the province will give top priority to the development of the Qaidam Basin-based solar photovoltaic industry in the next few years. It is estimated that four to five 100-MW solar power plants will be built in the basin by 2015. The basin’s total installed capacity will exceed 1,000 megawatts by that time, and the solar power plants will be able to generate a combined 1.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. At the same time, the total installed capacity of all photovoltaic systems in Qinghai Province such as the building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems and photovoltaic lighting systems will reach 50 megawatts. A complete photovoltaic industry chain will be formed by 2020, when the industry’s annual output value will reach 100 billion yuan, turning the photovoltaic industry into one of the pillar industries in Qinghai.

Editor:Shi Taoyang |Source: CNTV

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