The world’s biggest solar plant has come online in China, capable of powering a small country with its annual capacity of more than 6 billion kilowatt hours.

The facility in a desert region of the north-west province of Xinjiang covers 200,000 acres – roughly the same area as New York City.

The 5GW complex, which was connected to China’s grid on Monday, is powerful enough to meet the electricity demands of a country the size of Luxembourg or Papua New Guinea.

China has led the world in solar power adoption, boosting its capacity in 2023 by more than 50 per cent. The new solar farm overtakes the Ningxia Teneggeli and Golmud Wutumeiren solar projects, which are both also in China, to become the largest in the world.

A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) described China’s drive towards renewables as “extraordinary”, with the country commissioning as much solar capacity last year as the entire world did in 2022.

“China accounts for almost 60 per cent of new renewable capacity expected to become operational globally by 2028,” the report stated.

“China’s role is critical in reaching the global goal of tripling renewables because the country is expected to install more than half of the new capacity required globally by 2030. At the end of the forecast period, almost half of China’s electricity generation will come from renewable energy sources.”

Analysis from leading manufacturer Longi Green Energy Technology in 2023 estimated that fitting solar panels to rooftops and buildings in China would produce enough electricity to power all the households in China and South-East Asia combined.

  • Cows Look Like Maps
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    17 days ago

    Trying not to put a damper on this good news but with all the techbro ai hype, the target gets further and further for our energy needs.

  • kbal
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    9 days ago

    For those who prefer more sensible units that’s 800km² and an average output of 680MW.

    China reportedly installed 86GW of new coal-fired power capacity in 2022 and their existing plants ran at a capacity factor ~50%, so this project is the equivalent of something like 1.6% of the coal-burning capacity they added in that year. But it’s also a pretty small fraction of all the solar panels they’re building.

    • @Zron@lemmy.world
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      59 days ago

      So if Luxembourg converted 1/3rd of their country to a desert and installed solar panels, they’d be set.

      I knew solar was pretty low energy density, but that really put it in perspective for me.

      • kbal
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        9 days ago

        It’s notoriously difficult to get a feel for the scale of such things, but for one more data point: NYC apparently uses something like 50TWh of electricity in a year, so this “roughly the same area as New York City” facility could produce 12% of the power used by New York City.

        Of course it would probably need to be larger if it were in New York rather than out in the middle of a presumably very sunny desert.

    • @Dogyote@slrpnk.net
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      9 days ago

      I’m struggling to find source that supports your claim. Can you help me out? Specifically the coal numbers.

      • kbal
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        9 days ago

        Coal numbers I used were from S&P Global, and looked plausible enough for a rough estimate, in line with other stuff that turned up in a quick search. I should’ve said “approved” rather than “installed” in 2022, but that’s the kind of pace they’ve been going at for a while.

        You’ll find lots of people predicting that total coal use in China will start to decline soon, of course. One of these days they’ll be right.

  • Five
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    9 days ago

    Among other statements that have contextualized how underwhelming this announcement is from the perspective of China fighting climate change, Xinjiang is famously the region that China is ethnically cleansing of Uygur people.

  • AutoTL;DRB
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    39 days ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    The world’s biggest solar plant has come online in China, capable of powering a small country with its annual capacity of more than 6 billion kilowatt hours.

    The facility in a desert region of the north-west province of Xinjiang covers 200,000 acres – roughly the same area as New York City.

    The 5GW complex, which was connected to China’s grid on Monday, is powerful enough to meet the electricity demands of a country the size of Luxembourg or Papua New Guinea.

    A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) described China’s drive towards renewables as “extraordinary”, with the country commissioning as much solar capacity last year as the entire world did in 2022.

    “China accounts for almost 60 per cent of new renewable capacity expected to become operational globally by 2028,” the report stated.

    The massive ramp-up in production of solar panels in China has led to recent concerns that overcapacity could lead to trade tensions resulting from a global market glut.


    The original article contains 324 words, the summary contains 163 words. Saved 50%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!