Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. is going to develop a 10MW solar installation that when complete will be one of the highest on earth around 4,000 meters above sea level. Being dubbed the “roof of the world,” the solar system will be located in Chek Kang village in the Sangri County Shannan Prefecture, Tibet. The solar system should be completed by the middle of 2011 and when finished, will generate around 20,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year. The energy will be used to help facilitate economic development in Tibet.
According the Suntech, for the most part, the mountainous region has relied heavily on hydroelectric resources for much of its baseload power production. However, a shift in weather patterns has caused droughts to become more frequent and water volumes to drop in hydroelectric reservoirs leading to shortages of electricity. This has caused the region’s economic growth to be stunted. The hope is that the new solar power plant will alleviate peak power shortages and that a consistent and reliable energy load will bring growth.
“With intense sunlight and cool temperatures, Tibet is extremely well-suited for the utilization of advanced photovoltaic technology,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Founder, Chairman and CEO. “We’re proud to invest in preserving the region’s fragile ecosystem by providing an economically-viable and sustainable solution for electricity generation. From the desert sands of Arizona to the peaks of the Himalayas, anyone can look up and harness nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy resource.”
This is not the first solar project in Tibet for Suntech. During the past few years, Suntech has donated more than 50 independent solar systems for schools, community centers, and houses throughout the region. In 2008, Suntech installed a solar system at Mt. Everest base camp to provide trekkers with clean and reliable access to power. In gratitude, a team of mountaineers carried a Suntech flag to the very peak of the world.
Dr. Shi concluded, “As we approach grid parity, we’re seeing a groundswell of appetite for multi-megawatt projects in Asia and emerging markets around the world. I’m confident that China will really turn some heads this year and perhaps even become a gigawatt market. In this exciting transitional period, we will continue to diversify our global footprint to drive solar industry growth everywhere under the sun.”