Boost of Solar Power Projects Emerge in China’s Xinjiang Region

The government of Bole city, Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, China recently signed an agreement with Hubei-based JCS Solar for a 6 billion yuan (US$948 million) photovoltaic project to be located next to the area’s Sayram Lake. Construction of the 13 million square-meter facility is expected to take three years. Phase I of the project is expected to yield 30-MW of capacity and connect to the grid when completed by the end of October 2012.

Wang Xinchun, a director at the Investment Invitation Bureau of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, said it is Bortala’s first PV project and represents a good start at establishing a photovoltaic base in the area and facilitating the diversification of energy sources and an overall upgrade for the sector.

The average solar resource in Bortala has been running between 1,450 kWh and 1,470 kWh. Sunshine duration is rather steady all year round, favoring the development and utilization of solar resources. Over ten state-owned enterprises and privately-owned companies have talked with the Bortala government about solar power generation projects in the area during the recent two years, including China Power Investment Corporation, China Datang Corporation Renewable Power, Shandong Linuo and Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric.

According to JCS Solar board chairman and general manager Zhang Chongchao, the company is looking at Xinjiang for new market opportunities and industry chain expansion. The number of photovoltaic manufacturers across China has been increasing, which has led to overcapacity and fierce market competition, and JCS Solar is not the only company initiating projects in Xinjiang. 

Datang Xinjiang Power Generation Company received approvals in May for the construction of two projects, the 20-MW Hami Phase I solar power project and the 20-MW Bohu, Bazhou Phase I solar power project from the Development and Reform Commission of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Phase I of the Hami project received an investment of 267 million yuan (US$41.9 million), and Phase I of the Bohu, Bazhou project attracted an investment of 251 million yuan (US$39.4 million).   

Zhejiang-based Hengdian Group DMEGC Magnetic is also preparing for the construction of an industrial recycling park in Wensu County, an area with abundant light and heat resources as well as convenient transportation. The 3.3 million square-meter project is expected to produce 50,000 tons of polysilicon products and be home to a 1,800-MW captive power plant that will allow for easy subsequent photovoltaic expansion. The government also signed an agreement with Xinjiang Garson Sun Wind & Electricity Science & Technology that calls for investment in a 2 million square-meter 60-MW solar power project to be built in three phases. 

A number of photovoltaic projects have either already been put into production, are under construction or are being submitted to the government for approval in other areas of Xinjiang including Shihezi, Kuitun, Turpan, Aral and Hetian.

Image: Xinjiang China via Shutterstock