The first solar thermal power plant in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region went into operation Sunday night.

The 50-megawatt concentrated solar power plant is located in Naomaohu Township, eastern Xinjiang’s city of Hami. Construction of the project began in October 2017 by Energy China.

The concentrating solar power project can achieve an annual power supply of 198.3 million kWh, saving 61,900 tonnes of standard coal annually, which is equivalent to reducing emissions of about 61.89 tonnes of sulfur dioxide, 61.89 tonnes of nitrogen oxides, 19.84 tonnes of soot and 154,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The solar thermal power plant adopts a “light-heat-electricity” power generation mode. The CSP project works by using tens of thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a receiver at the top of the tower to create a temperature above 800 degrees Celsius.

Steam with a temperature of over 500 degrees Celsius will then be generated through the heat transfer medium to drive a turbine to produce electricity.

The plant is able to generate power 24/7 through the use of molten salt that absorbs the heat, allowing the station to maintain the high temperature, even without a constant stream of sunlight.

In contrast to photovoltaic panels that cannot generate electricity at night and can easily be affected by weather changes, the solar thermal power plant can generate power steadily with lower cost and higher efficiency, said Zhang Yanli with the State Grid’s Hami branch.

China 6th large-scale commercial solar thermal power plant, CPECC Hami 50MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project, was successfullly connected to the grid at 23:39 p.m. on December 29th, 2019, making the total capacity of large-scale CSP projects in China reach 350MW.

As CSP Focus keeps reporting, up to date, China have six large-scale CSP projects with total capacity of 350MW in operation:

CGN Delingha 50MW Parabolic Trough CSP Project, Shouhang Dunhuang 100MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project, and SUPCON Delingha 50MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project which were completed by 2018 year end;

Power China Gonghe 50MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project and Luneng Haixi 50MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project which started operation in September 2019;

CPECC Hami 50MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project connected to the grid on December 29th, 2019.

Except the Luneng Haixi project, the other five are all amongst China first batch of 20 demonstration CSP projects.

CPECC Hami 50MW Molten Salt Tower CSP Project is developed by state-owned company China Power Engineering Consulting Group Corporation (CPECC) and the EPC contract was awarded to its subsidiary Northwest Electric Power Design Institute Company (NWEPDI).

As the only CSP pilot project in China Xinjiang Province, CPECC Hami CSP project is located in the highest latitude – 43°North.

With the total investment of RMB 1,580 million, the CPECC Hami project is equipped with 13 hours’ molten salt solar thermal storage system.