eSolar, a global provider of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, and Penglai Electric, a privately-owned Chinese electrical power equipment manufacturer, announced on Jan. 11 a master licensing agreement to build at least 2 gigawatts (GW) of solar thermal power plants in China over the next 10 years.
The deal represents the country's largest CSP project. Groundbreaking of the first 92 megawatts (MW) will take place in 2010.
eSolar is an Idealab company founded in 2007 to develop modular and scalable solar thermal power plant technology. In the summer of 2009, eSolar unveiled the 5 MW Sierra SunTower Plant, the only commercial CSP tower facility in North America.
Penglai Electric plans to develop 2 GW of power plants by 2021 using eSolar's solar thermal technology. The solar thermal power plants will be co-located with biomass electricity generation facilities. Penglai Electric will leverage local manufacturing to source some of the equipment. In total, the plants will eliminate 15 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
China Huadian Engineering Co. will lead the construction process. At completion, China Shaanxi Yulin Huayang New Energy Co. will own and operate the first 92 MW plant. "We're excited to build our initial hybrid plant as part of the 170-square kilometer Yulin Alternative Energy Park, the first large scale alternative energy park in China. Our work is aligned with the governments continuing policy to curb carbon emissions and combat climate change," said Zhao Weikang, chairman and president of Shaanxi Yulin Huayang New Energy Co.
China is currently the market leader in the PV manufacturing industry. The deal represents the countrys first major move into concentrating solar thermal power. The Chinese government recently announced its aggressive plans to increase the countrys renewable power generation capacity to 15% by 2020.