Photo of another First Solar plant in Nevada
It seems every few months another 'world's biggest' renewable energy project gets unveiled--but this one's seriously huge. The US company First Solar has just signed a deal with the Chinese government to develop what will be the largest photovoltaic power plant in the world. This behemoth will generate 2,000 megawatts of power when it's built in the Mongolian desert, and it will power 3 million Chinese homes. And this isn't some pie-in-the-sky project that will never come to fruition--this one's coming soon, despite its jaw-dropping price tag.And the sum of that price tag? Around $5-6 billion dollars, according to projections. But the cost isn't stopping the Chinese government from giving the audacious project the go ahead to break ground next year.
According to Green Inc,
The agreement calls for ground to be broken on the first 30-megawatt phase of the project by June 1, 2010, followed by 100-megawatt and 870-megawatt additions to be completed by the end of 2014. A final 1,000-megawatt phase is scheduled to go online by Dec. 31, 2019.It's also notable that a US company was able to land such a big deal in China--a country notoriously protective of its fast-emerging renewable energy market. But the move, of course, benefits both parties: it has the potential to open up a huge market for solar power in China, and a plant to produce the solar cells will be opened on Chinese soil.
China is surging ahead with renewable energy projects like this, and it's seeking to become the world leader in the field. It has already staked a claim to the mantle of wind power leader with its gigantic wind farm projects, and now it looks as though it'll soon be home to the most impressive solar array in the world as well. The US is going to have to get moving if it hopes to catch up.