The Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is the largest solar farm in the world and is a major stride in China’s pledge to produce more renewable energy.
China is home to the world’s largest solar farm, the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park. Located on the Tibetan Plateau in eastern China, Longyangxia extends over 10 square miles and contains approximately four million solar panels. Satellite images released by NASA show the expansive and impressive field of reflective panels.
The project was initiated in 2013 and has been growing since. The high desert area of the plateau provides the ideal conditions for the solar panels to absorb sun. Currently, Longyangxia has the capacity to generate 850 megawatts of electricity or enough to power about 140,000 U.S. homes.
Guardian reporter Tim Philips describes the solar farm as “a sea of nearly 4m deep blue panels flows towards a spectacular horizon of snow-capped mountains – mile after mile of silicon cells tilting skywards from what was once a barren, wind-swept cattle ranch”.
With 850 MWp (megawatt peak) capacity, Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is the largest photovoltaic power station in the world in the world. India’s Kamuthi Solar Power Project takes second place, with 648 MWp capacity, while the United States follows with the Solar Star (I & II) locations at 597 MWp. In coincidence with the growth of Longyangxia, China’s photovoltaic capacity has more than doubled in the last year.
China accounts for about one-third of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes— the country holds first place for world pollution. As expressed by Xia Xiaoping, chairman of Huanghe Hydropower Development, the state-run company that produced the park, “The development of clean energy is very important if we are to keep the promises made in the Paris agreement”.
The Longyangxia solar park is one reflection of the renewable energy revolution taking place in China. In 2015, China invested over $103 billion in renewable energy; 2015 was a record-setting year for renewable energy efforts, amounting an estimated $286 billion spent worldwide. China is projected to spend $361 billion by 2020 for the cause. The investment, in turn, has slashed the price of solar power on China’s domestic market. China aims for the use of non-fossil fuel generated power to increase from the current 11 percent to 20 percent by 2030.
“The Paris agreement is a milestone in the history of climate governance. We must ensure this endeavor is not derailed,” Chinese President Xi Jinping states, “All parties should work together to implement the Paris agreement. China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honor its obligations”. Now the leader of the country with the highest investment in clean energy, President Xi vows to “unwaveringly pursue sustainable development”.
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