Published on May 10, 2011
by Christine Gaylican
OfficialWire News Bureau
Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region is set to become the country’s leading solar power generation base with 10 more photovoltaic power plants to be completed within this year, reports said.
Mr Wang Haijiang, a noted researcher on Tibet’s energy development in a published report, said the construction of new solar-fired plants, have begun with a total investment of 2 billion yuan ( US$308 million) and a combined 100-megawatt capacity.
This will take advantage of Tibet’s ample solar energy resources to ease the plateau region’s power shortages, said Mr Wang.
A 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic generation plant in Xigaze Prefecture will soon be completed within the month.
While a 10-megawatt solar photovoltaic generation plant is being built in Yangbajing, a town 90 km northwest of the regional capital Lhasa, with a designed power generation capacity of 430 million kwh during its 25-year life span.
Tibet has abundant solar energy resources, with an average 3,000 hours of solar radiation annually, or about 6,000 to 8,000 megajoules per square meter.
Mr Wang explained that for the past 60 years, Tibet has relied on its clean energy resources, hoping to protect the plateau ecology while seeking economic growth, said.
It began using solar energy in the 1980s and nowadays the region’s installed 9-megawatt solar photovoltaic generation system accounts for 13 percent of China’s total energy generation capacity.
Mr Wand explained that Tibetan families now widely use solar energy with nearly 400,000 solar stoves installed in Tibetan kitchens, 10,000 square meters of homes being heated by solar energy and 200,000 households relying on solar energy for lighting.
according to the National Energy Administration (NEA), China’s total domestic demand for solar photovoltaic energy was around 500,000 kilowatts a year.
China plans to expand the solar PV energy market gradually: to about 5 million kilowatts installation capacity in 2015 and 20 million kilowatts in 2020, according to the country’s top energy planner NEA.