Construction is due to start later this month on an experimental solar–thermal power plant in the shadow of China’s Great Wall that will bring clean energy to 30,000 households by 2010. Built on the outskirts of Beijing at a cost of £10m, the 1.5 MW Dahan plant will cover an area the size of 10 football pitches, and will serve as a platform for experiments on different solar-power technologies.
Unlike photovoltaic solar panels, which produce electricity directly from sunlight, solar–thermal power is based on an array of mirrors that focus the Sun’s rays onto a receiver. Several solar-thermal plants are already operating elsewhere in the world — notably in California’s Mojave Desert and in Granada in Spain — but the Dahan facility will be the first of its kind in Asia.
“The actual amount of power generated is small, but it is a big step for China to go into solar-thermal power generation using its own designs,” says Christoph Richter, site manager of the German Aerospace Centre at the Plataforma Solar de Alméria, a solar-power research centre in Tabernas, Spain.
Read more ….Power from the sun in China