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China Turns on World’s Biggest Solar Farm in Western Desert

The 5-gigawatt (GW), 200,000-acre solar farm in Xinjiang came online on Monday, the Power Construction Corp of China said


The world’s biggest solar farm, spread over 200,000 acres, seen in China’s Xinjiang
The world’s biggest solar farm, spread over 200,000 acres, seen in China’s Xinjiang. Photo: State media / China Daily

 

A Chinese power utility said on Monday it has connected the world’s biggest solar plant, in a desert area in northwestern Xinjiang, to the grid.

The 5-gigawatt (GW), 200,000-acre solar farm, outside the provincial capital Urumqi, came online on Monday, a notice on the state asset regulator’s website said, citing the Power Construction Corp of China.

 

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The facility will generate about 6.09 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year. That would be enough to power the country of Papua New Guinea for a year.

The two largest operational solar facilities previously were also in western China – Longyuan Power Group’s Ningxia Tenggeli desert solar project and China Lüfa Qinghai New Energy’s Golmud Wutumeiren solar complex, both with a capacity of 3GW, according to the Global Energy Monitor’s solar power tracker.

Sparsely populated Xinjiang, rich in solar and wind resources, has become a hub for massive renewable energy bases that send much of their power across long distances to China’s densely populated eastern seaboard.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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