SHANGHAI, Oct 10 (SMM) – China's first large commercial concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, constructed by General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), entered operation on October 10, the company announced.
This makes China the eighth country to own a large solar-thermal power station, a milestone in China's solar-thermal energy development.
Located in Delingha city of the north-western province of Qinghai, the station occupies 2.46 square kilometres (246 hectares).
The 50MW plant can generate nearly 200 million kWh of electricity per year. Compared with a coal-fired power plant with the same capacity, the station cuts standard coal use by 60,000 mt per year, and reduces annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 100,000 mt, equivalent to the effect of planting trees in an area of 4,200 mu (280 hectares), SMM learned.
CSP technologies feature continuous and steady generation of electricity, compared to photovoltaic (PV), another major method for generating electricity from sunlight.
While PV converts energy from the sun directly into electricity, CSP converts the sun's energy into high-temperature heat, which can be stored and used to produce electricity when needed.