Tibet’s largest solar energy plant starts operation

The largest solar power plant ever built in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region went into service on Wednesday. The plant is expected to help ease the region’s recurring power shortages.

The 30-megawatt (MW) power plant project is located in Xigaze Prefecture, about 3 km northwest of Tibet’s second-largest city of Xigaze.

The plant is being built in three phases. The first phase involved the construction of power facilities at a cost of 249 million yuan (about 38.5 million U.S. dollars). These facilities were integrated into the region’s local power grid on Wednesday, where they will generate up to 20.23 million kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity annually, according to project manager Gao Yuankun.

Gao said the first phase of the project will ease power shortages in the prefecture by supplying electricity for more than 100,000 households.

The project will also save 9,000 metric tons of coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17,800 metric tons annually, he said.

The project, costing 800 million yuan, is solely funded by the Linuo Power Group, a leading provider of solar photovoltaic power generation systems based in east China’s Shandong Province.

Tibet has abundant solar energy resources, receiving an average of 3,300 hours of sunlight annually.

Tibet has stepped up its exploration of clean energy resources over the last 60 years in order to protect the region’s environment while simultaneously allowing growth and development to take place.