China begins to develop its solar thermal energy. It is a leader in photovoltaic and wind power installed, but is far behind in the development of solar thermal compared to Spain, India or the U.S..

The authorities of the Autonomous Region of Ningxia, in northwest China, started on October 12 the construction of a large hybrid solar power plant as part of the country’s efforts to accelerate development of renewable energy.

The Hanas New Energy Group, based in the regional capital of Yinchuan, plans to invest 2,250 million yuan (354 million dollars) in the hybrid solar thermal Yanchi district, which is expected to have a capacity of 92,5 megawatts.

The CSP will be operational in October 2013 and will be the first integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) in Asia, although there are several plants in other countries. “The solar thermal in Yanchi be the benchmark for commercial operation ISCC plant in China,” said company president, Ma Fuqiang.

In early March, China announced it had set a goal to build 235 GW of renewable energy generation over the next five years, in an attempt to reduce the country’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. According to plan, for 2015 will create 5,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal between, thanks to several projects to build in remote regions such as Ningxia and also the autonomous regions of Xinjiang (northwest), Inner Mongolia (northern) and Tibet (southwest).

Most solar energy projects on a large scale are focused exclusively on solar thermal technology, which involves using mirrors to heat a liquid, which in turn produces steam that makes work a turbine to generate electricity.

A solar power plant equipped with the ISCC system combines solar fields with gas turbines, with the aim of increasing efficiency by 25 percent compared with conventional thermal one, which depends heavily on weather conditions.

ISSC solar thermal power plants operating successfully in several countries, including Egypt and the United States, while others are under construction in Algeria and Morocco. Moreover, Mexico, India and Iran are developing plans.

Ningxia has abundant coal resources as well as solar and wind energy company Hanas, as the largest natural gas producer and supplier of urban use of thermal energy services centralized in the region, has developed plans to install wind farms and power plants solar from 2000 to make it your main business.

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