By Srikanto Mandal 19 December, 2023

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Why Does China Rely on Thousands of Mirrors for Solar Power? 

China is harnessing the sun's energy through an innovative solar/molten salt technique involving thousands of mirrors.

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The system is a version of the U.S. Department of Energy's concentrating solar-thermal power systems, where large mirrors focus sunlight onto a receiver atop a tower.

This solar setup in China has been generating power since 2019, utilizing mirrors to focus sunlight and heat molten salt, ultimately turning water to steam and powering a turbine.

Beijing Shouhang Resources Saving's system can produce "24 hours of continuous power at full capacity," showcasing its efficiency and reliability.

Built with an initial investment of $433.1 million, the project aims to prove the viability of this concept and is part of a larger initiative to explore cleaner ways of energy production.

The system is designed to generate 390 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, resulting in a substantial reduction of nearly 386,000 tons of air pollution each year.

The environmental benefit is equivalent to that created by 1,648 acres of forest, emphasizing the positive impact on the environment.

Featuring thousands of glimmering mirrors in a circle, this setup focuses sunbeams on a tall tower, with a unique appearance often described as a "silver sunflower blooming on the Gobi desert."

Despite reported project challenges, China remains committed to concentrated sunlight technology, exemplified by the Shouhang system—a nearly 900-foot beacon of solar innovation.