Giant solar array to be built in Chinese desert

By Chris Sleight11 September 2009

Solar panel manufacturer First Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding to build what is thought to be the world's largest solar energy plant in China. The 2 GW facility will be built in four phases over the next ten years in Ordos City in the country's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The first phase of the scheme will be a 30 MW demonstration scheme. Construction of which is due to get underway in June 2010 with completion "as soon as practicable." The 100 MW Phase 2 and 870 MW Phase 3 are due for completion in 2014, with the final 1 GW Phase 4 coming online in 2019.

As part of the agreement, First Solar will establish supply chains in China for its thin film photovoltaic cells, and will also set up facilities to recycle panels after use. It is considering setting up a manufacturing plant in or near Ordos.

Cao Zhichen, vice mayor of Ordos Municipal Government said, "We are very pleased to be partnering with one of the solar industry's global technology leaders in a project of such significance to Ordos' low carbon future. Discussions with First Solar about building a factory in China demonstrate to investors in China that they can confidently invest in the most advanced technologies available."

First Solar CEO Mike Hearn said, "We're proud to be announcing this precedent-setting project. It represents an encouraging step forward towards the mass-scale deployment of solar power worldwide to help mitigate climate change concerns."

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