The world’s largest solar farm just came online in China

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The world’s largest solar farm, in the desert in northwestern Xinjiang, is now connected to China’s grid.

The 5-gigawatt (GW), 200,000-acre solar farm is outside Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital. The state asset regulator’s website that cited the Power Construction Corp of China said it came online on Monday.

The solar farm will generate about 6.09 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually. Assuming an EV consumes about 3,000 kWh per year, 6.09 billion kWh could power 2.03 million EVs annually.

The world’s largest solar farm in Xinjiang is part of China’s megabase project, a plan to install 455 GW of wind and solar. The megabase projects are sited in sparsely populated, resource-rich areas and send their generated energy to major urban centers, such as on China’s eastern seaboard.

China now boasts the three largest solar farms in the world by capacity. The Ningxia Tenggeli and Golmud Wutumeiren solar farms, each with a capacity of 3 MW, are already online.

Xinjiang is a significant and sometimes controversial player in the global solar industry – besides hosting huge solar and wind farms, it’s also a major hub for the production of polysilicon, a critical raw material used in solar panel manufacturing.

However, reports and allegations regarding the treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region have led to calls for more transparency and ethical considerations in the supply chain.

Read more: US to restore tariffs on solar panels from China


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