BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- China's first solar thermal power plant began soliciting tenders on Wednesday as the country's efforts to diversify its clean energy sources gathered pace.
The 50 megawatt solar thermal power plant will rise on uninhabited land of more than 100 hectares in Hangjinqi in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The tenders are scheduled to be opened on Jan. 20, 2011.
The China Machinery and Equipment International Tendering Co., Ltd.is entrusted by the National Energy Administration to oversee the bidding process.
The project is estimated to cost about 1.6 billion yuan (240.5 million U.S. dollars) and will annually generate about 120 million KWH of power, according to statistics from Inner Mongolia's Reform and Development Commission.
Solar thermal power plants use the sun's heat to generate steam and drive turbines. They store heat during the day and use it to generate power at night, providing greater power supply stability than photovoltaic plants.
In addition, solar thermal plants do not need the expensive solar panels of photovoltaic plants. The production of solar panels also require significant amounts of energy.
Hangjinqi was chosen over other sites in northwest China because it was closer to the grid and had sufficient sunlight and water supplies, said Li Rong, head of Hangjinqi's investment promotion department, who has spent about five years working on the project.
The project was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2007. Its initial planning and feasibility report was written by Inner Mongolia STP Development Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Inner Mongolia Lenon New Energy Liability Co. Ltd and the German company, Solar Millennium AG.