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January 30, 2010

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China gets bank's boost to develop solar power

THE Asian Development Bank will provide China with a grant of US$1 million to help it develop large-scale concentrated solar thermal power (CST), the bank said yesterday.

According to the Manila-headquartered bank, the money will be used to build a 1.5 megawatt pilot project and to carry out a pre-feasibility assessment of a 50 megawatt power demonstration project in northwest China's Gansu Province.

The bank is supporting China's plan to install Asia's first megawatt-scale CST pilot project and accelerate large-scale solar power development.

China has been making rapid progress in developing renewable energy sources to help reduce its heavy reliance on coal, with wind power posting significant growth. But development of solar power has been limited.

CST power, which provides electricity by generating heat to operate a steam turbine that drives a generator, has advantages over solar photovoltaic panels: The power produced is available continuously and at a more competitive price.

"Understanding new technologies through megawatt-scale pilot projects is crucial to building up knowledge and capacity that may lead to the development of large-scale plants," said Ashok Bhargava, principal energy specialist in ADB's East Asia Department.


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