China’s Kela Photovoltaic (PV) Power Station, the world’s largest and highest-altitude hydro-power and PV complementary power station, commenced its operation for power generation recently. It is located in the Yalong River Basin, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. With this, Kela Photovoltaic Power Station has become the first with an installed capacity scale of 1 million kilowatts for a hydro-solar power grid.
It can fully charge 15,000 electric vehicles with a range of 550 kilometres just one hour. This brings the country closer to its goal of ensuring energy security and dual carbon goals.
It is spread over an area of around 16 million square meters, equivalent to 2,000 standard football fields. PowerChina Chengdu Engineering Co (PowerChina Chengdu) is responsible for the surveying, design, procurement, construction, commissioning, grid connection, and power generation for one third of the project.It is also responsible for the overall coordination of the PV power station.
The project’s Chief Design Engineer, Wu Di said, “Combining solar and hydro power is considered an effective way of making it more stable.” He further informed that the electricity generated by the solar panels will be connected to the Lianghekou Hydroelectric Power Station, which was designed by PowerChina Chengdu, and then integrated into the power grid. “The project developer has gone through enormous challenges in order to complete the project,” he said.
”Located in the western part of Kela in Yajiang county, with an altitude ranging from 4,000 to 4,600 meters, the project’s highest point is nearly 1,000 meters higher than Lhasa, the capital city of Southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region.The segment undertaken by PowerChina Chengdu is the one with the highest altitude, largest scale, largest area, and most complex terrain,” Project Manager Li Tao, said.
It may be noted that, PowerChina Chengdu took on the planning responsibilities for the Kela project in 2016, with feasibility design work commencing in 2021 and construction officially beginning in July 2022.
“In the face of various obstacles, the team leveraged the experience gained from constructing numerous high-altitude projects, including the world’s highest-altitude wind farm built by PowerChina Chengdu. Working together with participating units, the construction team successfully established a precedent for large-scale winter construction of PV projects in extremely high-altitude regions with the Kela project,” Li said.
”Once operational, it is estimated that the project will save over 600,000 tons of standard coal annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.6 million tons, a significant contribution to the rapid development of the new energy industry in the region, ”he pointed out. “With the completion of the Yalong River Energy Base, it will become one of the world’s largest green, clean, and renewable energy bases,” he further remarked.