50 MW PV Project Turns Desert Dengkou into an Oasis

Dengkou county, located in the west of Inner Mongolia, China, adjoins the east of Ulanbuhe desert. More than 70% of the land is covered by desert, only 10% cultivatable, but receives incredibly abundant sunlight with 3,100-3,300 hours of sunlight throughout the year.
To help improve the situation, Beijing branch of State Power Investment Co,. Ltd (SPIC) innovatively proposed the concept of "utilizing PV to control sand and restore the environment" in September 2012, which combined the development of PV with desertification control and water-saving agriculture. This idea was strongly welcomed and supported by the local government.
This project began at the end of October 2014, and was connected to grid successfully in December 30, 2014. It only took two and a half month!
The affiliated Inner Mongolia New Energy Co., Ltd planted sand-preventable plants, such as alfalfa and artemisia sphaerocephala, to combat water shortage in desert. They also planted a 100-meter wide protection forest at the periphery of the solar farm. Meanwhile, PV panel itself can prevent wind and dune from moving. This unique plantation mode significantly improved the photovoltaic conversion efficiency and the business’s economic benefit.
Since connected to grid in 2014, the project has achieved an outstanding sand control result. It saves 25,370 tons of standard coal each year and reduces 93,023 tons of CO2 emission. More significantly, the vegetation coverage has improved from 5% to nearly 80% within several years!

The PV project effectively improves the environment which in turn makes the PV panels cleaner. The panels had to be cleaned 6-7 times each year in the past, but now it only needs to be cleaned 3-4 times. In addition, local folks are employed to clean the panels and take care of the vegetation which also improves their income and living standard.

As the sentence written on the black stone at the center of viewing platform in the solar farm says, “Dare to turn desert into oasis.” This represents the SPIC’s commitment and aspiration.

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