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World’s largest solar farm is big enough to power an entire country

World’s largest solar farm is big enough to power an entire country

The 200,000-acre solar farm in Urumqi has the Elon Musk seal of approval.

The world’s largest solar energy farm has gone online in China with the capability to power Papa New Guinea for a full year.

On Monday (June 3) Chinese state-owned company revealed that it had connected the biggest solar plant on the globe to the grid in northwestern Xinjiang.

As per Reuters, the 5-gigawatt (GW), 200,000-acre solar farm has been built in the desert area of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwestern China.

Contributor / Getty
Contributor / Getty

The complex, which roughly covers the same area as New York City, was connected to China’s grid earlier this week.

It’s said that the farm can generate around 6.09 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year.

Therefore, the sheer energy that it generates would be enough to power countries such as Luxembourg or Papa New Guinea for a year, or cities like Los Angeles for just less than 365 days.

The new facility surpasses the previous largest solar planets in China, according to the Global Energy Monitor's solar power tracker.

The two largest spaces were previously Longyuan Power Group's Ningxia Tenggeli desert solar project and China Lüfa Qinghai New Energy's Golmud Wutumeiren solar complex, with a capacity of 3GW each.

Following the news that the Urumqiu establishment had gone live, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had his say.

Taking to social media on Monday, he simply wrote ‘wow’ in response.

Others have also flocked to the micro-blogging platform to have their say, with one writing: “Let's hope the rest of the world will follow as quickly as China!”

“Great, now I don't need to carry a power bank when I go out anymore,” joked a second.

Fei Yang / CFOTO
Fei Yang / CFOTO

Another typed: “Can we build something like this? Like yesterday?”

Last year, a Reddit user revealed how much their household bills had reduced after they installed solar panels.

After installing the panels and battery, a California-based user known as Mdizzle29, showed that their energy bill dropped from $280.87 to only $17.21, saving them a whopping $263.66.

The first bill covered mid-November to early December 2022, while the second bill covered the same months for 2023.

US residents who use solar power can get money back on their bills if they contribute surplus energy to the broader electricity grid.

This billing tool is called net metering and sees participants reducing their dependency on centralised energy sources.

California has been a leader in the US for solar panel incentives, but the state’s decision to lower its net metering rates received some criticism from environmentalists.

In April 2023, net metering rates were cut by 80 percent under NEM 3.0.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) elected to move forward with NEM 3.0 despite filed requests for delays to run a complete cost-benefit analysis of the rate structure, as per PV Magazine.

In 2023 statistics, the Golden State dominated the US solar energy market by producing 29 percent of the country’s solar energy, according to, with Texas coming in second at 14.1 percent.

Featured Image Credit: Fei Yang / CFOTO / Contributor / Getty