China’s Solar Farms Transforming World Energy

China’s Solar Farms Transforming World Energy
China’s Solar Farms Transforming World Energy

China has more solar energy capacity than any other country, at a gargantuan 130 gigawatts. If it were all generating electricity at once, it could power the whole of the UK several times over.

China is home to many sizable solar farms—including the huge 850-megawatt Longyangxia Dam facility on the Tibetan Plateau, with its four million panels.

And the largest solar plant in the world at present is in China’s Tengger Desert, with a capacity exceeding 1,500 megawatts, BBC reported.

These projects have cost many millions of dollars to build, but have they been worth it? And will enough of these sprawling farms ever be constructed to meet its green energy targets?

China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panel technology, points out Yvonne Liu at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm.

“The market is really big. It is like industrial policy for the government,” she said.

According to the International Energy Agency. more than 60% of the world’s solar panels are made in China. The government has a clear economic interest in ensuring that there is high demand for solar panels.

Plus, by increasing the renewable energy resource, authorities can allow themselves a pat on the back. Cleaning up the Chinese energy mix is a key policy objective. Roughly two-thirds of the country’s electricity still come from burning coal.

It is no wonder that the vast, sun-drenched plains of north and northwestern China have become home to huge solar farms. There’s lots of space there to build them and the solar resource is reasonably reliable. Their construction has also been moving at a blistering pace.

IEA notes that China met its own 2020 target for solar energy capacity additions three years early.

There may be another incentive behind China’s drive to build solar farms in some politically sensitive regions. In recent decades, many have observed that China has been keen to encourage infrastructure investment in and around Tibet —an autonomous region that is home to many who reject China’s claims on the territory.

Some argue that such investment is politically motivated to cement Chinese authority and support ethnic Chinese who have moved to these areas.


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