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Engineering corporation breaks ground on world's largest solar tower — and it has remarkable powering potential

The benefits for the local communities could be huge.

The benefits for the local communities could be huge.

Photo Credit: Northwest Engineering Corporation Limited

A bright future is dawning in China as the world's largest solar tower project (by expected tower capacity) recently broke ground — and it's a major win for people and the planet alike.

Recently, Northwest Engineering Corporation Limited announced that construction has officially begun on the milestone 200-megawatt solar tower in Delingha, according to Renewable Energy Magazine.

The project, which is being built by PowerChina Northwest with investment from CGN New Energy, adopts an innovative hybrid design that combines photovoltaic and molten salt solar thermal power generation. The conventional solar PVs for each of the multiple phases of the project are expected to add an additional 800 MW of capacity to the 200 MW of tower power in concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP).

So, how does the project's thermal generation work? The system uses heat from the solar field along with surplus electricity from conventional wind and solar generation in the area to warm molten salt in thermal storage tanks, per the magazine report.

That piping hot salt is then used to generate steam, which spins a turbine to generate clean, renewable electricity — 263.88 million kilowatt-hours per year from the CSP plant alone, per Renewable Energy Magazine.

The benefits for the local communities could be huge. First, this solar tower will provide a much-needed source of affordable, dependable clean energy — no more relying on dirty, expensive fuels that pollute the air and drive up energy costs.

When the project is complete, the hybrid solar installation will generate 3.65 billion kWh of electricity annually. That's a major economic boost, creating jobs and driving sustainable development in the region.

But the positives don't stop there. By tapping into the power of the sun instead of coal or gas, this one solar tower will prevent dirty gas emissions from entering our atmosphere, where they trap excess heat and raise global temperatures.

This solar project will become "the first new energy hybrid demonstration project in the western part of the Haixi region with a molten salt CSP plant as the peak shaving power supply, helping the construction of a national clean energy industry in Qinghai Province and contributing to the achievement of the carbon-neutral goal," according to Renewable Energy Magazine.

As more clean energy solutions like this solar tower come online around the world, we'll all reap the benefits: cleaner air, a healthier environment, more affordable energy, and a safer climate for generations to come.

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