Photon Farming in the Vast Solar Fields of Northern China

Illustration for article titled Photon Farming in the Vast Solar Fields of Northern China

This is an aerial view of China's future — vast solar farms that developers hope will fuel the industrial nation, as well as cut down on its choking smog problem. This solar photovoltaic power station, the largest of its type in northwest China, is currently under construction in Xining of Qinghai Province.

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Illustration for article titled Photon Farming in the Vast Solar Fields of Northern China

Instead of working rice paddies, Chinese farmers today care for solar cells that feed energy-hungry cities. Below, you can see smog-shrouded Xining looming over its new power station. The solar farm will expand considerably before it's complete.

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Illustration for article titled Photon Farming in the Vast Solar Fields of Northern China

Photo by China Photos/Getty Images.

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DISCUSSION

themindtaker-old
Themindtaker

Y'know what I think is great? the tag, environmentalism, really isn't that apt in this case. Environmentalism, at least to me, implies a sort of sacrifice for the sake of the environment, without any direct benefit to the one making the choice. This is a sustainable technology, but implemented for reasons entirely pragmatic, because the externalities of the previous energy source choices have finally started to catch up to us.

And I like it a lot. Though I have to agree with grey_area that they ought to expand on rooftops wherever possible; making all that concrete is a pretty carbon-intensive process.