Solar power project soaks up sunrays in Inner Mongolia

Undertaking producing array of benefits from holding back desert to generating agricultural income

By Hou Liqiang in Otog Front Banner, Inner Mongolia and Yuan Hui in Hohhot | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-24 10:54
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Editor's note: As protection of the planet's flora, fauna and resources becomes increasingly important, China Daily is publishing a series of stories to illustrate the country's commitment to safeguarding the natural world.

An array of photovoltaic panels in Otog Front Banner, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. CHINA DAILY

Under an intense azure sky, the relentless sunrays scorch without mercy. Sweat pours only to evaporate in an instant. Despite crawling along, vehicles are followed by a long tail of dust kicked up from unpaved roads.

Welcome to Otog Front Banner in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, a 12,200 square-kilometer county-level area where evaporation outweighs precipitation.

Sand control has always been a key task for the banner, located close to the Mu Us Desert, the fifth largest desert in China. The county, despite having rich coal reserves, is confronted with the increasingly urgent task of promoting the low-carbon transition.

The arid conditions and abundant sunshine make Otog a perfect location for tapping the potential of synergizing sand control and solar energy.

Compared with the vast land under the jurisdiction of Otog, the Mengxi Otog Front Banner Photovoltaic Base project, which covers about 7,000 hectares, is much like a tiny grain of sand on the beach. But the scale of the ongoing project launched there in October last year is about the size of 10,000 standard soccer pitches.

Under the scorching sun, workers are racing against the clock to ensure that they can complete the 3 million-kilowatt project before the end of September. At its peak, there are 4,000 people working on the construction site in Shanghaimiao township, according to GD Power Development Co, the project's developer.

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