World's Largest Solar Farm Will Generate Enough Electricity to Power 320,000 Households
China is helping Pakistan build the largest solar farm in the world. The Chinese company Xinjiang SunOasis took only three months to install a 100-Megawatt (MW), 400,000-panel pilot power project—marking the first solar power plant in Pakistan. The plant started selling electricity to the grid last month, according to China Dialogue.
The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park is a $130 million project on nearly 500 acres of land in the Cholistan desert in Punjab. And it's just the first part of a larger project, the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. When the entire project is complete in 2017, the site could have 5.2 million photovoltaic cells, "producing as much as 1,000 MW of electricity—equivalent to an average sized coal-fired power station—and enough to power about 320,000 households," says China Dialogue.
The area's 13 hours of daily sunlight and its flat expanse of desert make it ideal for a solar farm. "The solar park will also shrink Pakistan’s carbon footprint," Najam Ahmed Shah, the chief executive of the solar park, told China Dialogue, "displacing about 57,500 tonnes of coal burn and reducing emissions by 90,750 tonnes every year."
However, there have been criticisms of the project. This solar farm uses a significant amount of water. "An estimated one liter of water is used to clean each panel. Water consumed to clean the eventual 5.2 million panels built will be colossal for a country that is fast becoming water stressed," says China Dialogue. "Currently, 30 people take 10 to 15 days to clean the entire 400,000 cells." Additionally, the massive project has drastically increased activity in the area and required lots of new infrastructure, which will disturb a once-pristine desert environment, home to a rich diversity of wildlife.
Pakistan is far from the only country experiencing a huge growth in solar projects. The U.S. Navy signed on for the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a U.S. federal government agency. Hawaii is piloting a solar-powered hydrogen fuel cell generator for one of its ports. And California is in the process of building one of the world's largest solar farms.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
A coalition of conservation groups and others announced Thursday that a historic number of comments and petitions of support have been submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of Bears Ears National Monument. Despite the entirely inadequate 15-day comment period ending on May 26, more than 685,000 comments in support of Bears Ears National Monument have been collected.
By Lena Moffitt
An oil tanker in Mead, Colorado exploded, killing one and injuring three on Thursday. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion.
In an unusual procedural move, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed motions Thursday requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the Juliana v. US climate lawsuit, brought by 21 young people. The associations are following the lead of the National Association of Manufacturers, who filed a similar motion to withdraw on May 22.
Twenty-two GOP senators sent a letter Thursday urging Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris agreement. They argued remaining in the deal could "upend" the administration's ability "to fulfill its goal of rescinding the Clean Power Plan."
By Cheryl Johncox
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected on Thursday Energy Transfer Partners' request to resume horizontal directional drilling at two sites for its Rover fracked gas pipeline. This rejection comes after numerous leaks into Ohio's wetlands, and Clean Air and Clean Water act violations. FERC has halted the process at only eight locations of the 32 where drilling is taking place under Ohio's wetlands and streams.
By Nadia Prupis
A majority of people in eight countries say they are ready to change their lifestyles if it would prevent climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats released Wednesday found.
Bill Maher is sick of billionaires' obsession with Mars, more like "Mars-a-Lago," he said.
In a new animation produced by ATTN:, the popular talk show host of Real Time, discusses the perils of our planet, including how "climate change is killing us."