China's first solar-thermal power plant connects to national grid

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Aerial photo taken on Dec. 26, 2018 shows a part of a molten-salt solar thermal power plant in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province. [Photo / Xinhua]

China's first 100-megawatt solar-thermal power plant was completed on Thursday, December 27, 2018. The power plant is undergoing final testing and will connect to the national grid and come into service soon.

The plant in the Gobi Desert, Gansu Province is powered by 12,000 mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a receiver at the top of a solar tower. It's the first 100-megawatt solar power plant in China and the biggest one in Asia. The heat collected is used to create steam that turns a turbine and generator like a traditional thermal power plant.

The new power station can generate 390 million kilowatt-hours annually. It can generate power at nighttime using heat stored in the form of molten salt and can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 tons each year.

The plant covers an area of 7.8 square kilometers, which is equivalent to 1,120 standard football fields.

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