China to build world’s largest solar farm

China’s state-owned power company has unveiled plans to build the world’s largest solar farm, aimed at powering a small country. This £8.5 billion project will be located in Inner Mongolia and supply electricity to the Jing-Jin-Ji urban cluster, which includes Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei.

The colossal 8-gigawatt facility has the potential to power approximately 6 million homes. This integrated energy project will also feature 4 GW of wind power, 4 GW of coal-fired power, and 200 MW of solar thermal energy, along with an additional 5 GWh of energy storage.

Managed by China’s Three Gorges Renewables Group, construction is slated to begin in September 2024, with completion expected by June 2027. This announcement comes shortly after a 5 GW solar complex was activated in Xinjiang, now the largest operational solar plant globally.

The new solar farm will cover 200,000 acres in a desert area, equivalent to the size of New York City. China leads the world in solar power capacity, with over 600 GW connected to the grid as of November 2023. The country continues to expand its solar infrastructure, adding as much capacity last year as the rest of the world combined in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA highlighted China’s pivotal role in meeting global renewable energy goals, stating, “China’s acceleration in renewable capacity was extraordinary,” and emphasized that China is expected to install more than half of the new global capacity needed by 2030.