World’s largest hydro-PV station now operating in China
China is a global leader in developing renewable energy, and the Kela photovoltaic (PV) power station is adding to the country’s energy mix as the world’s largest hybrid solar-hydropower plant. The Kela station idea was formed by the Design and Research Institute of Power China Chengdu in 2016. Yalong River Hydropower Development, also known as Yalong Hydro, began the station’s construction in July 2022 to expand the renewable energy base of the Yalong River basin. The plant commenced operations on 25 June.
The solar-hydropower project has an installed capacity of 1 GW and will have a generation capacity of 2 GWh annually, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.6 million tonnes per year. The planned total installed capacity of the hybrid project is expected to be 3 GW. This station will play a key role in China’s commitments to net zero.
As the first phase of the Lianghekou hydropower plant, the station’s operations are just the beginning for the Yalong River basin, a centre for clean energy in China.
“China is leading the way in renewable energy. We congratulate Yalong Hydro for this deployment of the world’s largest hybrid solar-hydropower plant,” says Eddie Rich, the International Hydropower Association’s Chief Executive Officer. “Hybrid PVs have huge capacity to contribute to meeting global energy demands while making use of hydropower’s flexibility and storage capabilities. This is a major step in the right direction for meeting net zero targets.”
As highlighted in the 2023 World Hydropower Outlook hybrid projects like this showcase one of the roles sustainable hydropower plays in the energy transition - its flexibility and storage capacity support the development of other renewables. Given that solar is reliant on the time of day, combining it with hydropower enables 24-hour electricity, guaranteeing reliable, safe, and low carbon power systems. In addition to providing flexibility to the power grid, the project will support the development of nearby industries such as agriculture, tourism, and transportation – a key theme of the World Hydropower Outlook.
The deployment of this buoyant technology has been on the rise in the past five years, but its development continues at an early stage with Asia-Pacific being the largest and fastest growing region in the world, and China as the leader.
“We are delighted to see the Kela power station begin producing electricity for Chengdu citizens who suffered from power shortages during last summer’s heatwave. The Kela PV station connected into the Lianghekou hydropower plant as a virtual generator breaks ground for the clean energy base building in China,” He Shengming, Deputy General Manager, Yalong Hydro said about the Kela power station’s opening.