Villagers in parts of northwest China's Qinghai Province no longer have to rely on candlelight at night, thanks to a Sino-German solar energy cooperation program.
Photovoltaic and photovoltaic-diesel engine hybrid stations have been constructed at 11 villages in the Mongolian-Tibetan-Kazak Prefecture of Haixi and the Tibetan Prefecture of Haibei, benefiting 520 rural households, said Liu Hong, general manager of Qinghai Illumination Engineering Co. Ltd., which oversees the cooperation program.
The Sino-German cooperation program, launched in July 2002, is striving to improve energy resources through utilizing renewable sources in remote areas of Qinghai.
The entire program has a budget of 92.4 million yuan (11.39 million U.S. dollars), including 7.89 million U.S. dollars from the German government and 28 million yuan from the Qinghai provincial government.
A German company will be responsible for training technical workers to manage the photovoltaic or photovoltaic-diesel engine hybrid stations, according to the general manager.
Apart from Haixi and Haibei prefectures, the Sino-German cooperation program is also executed in the three Tibetan autonomous prefectures of Hainan, Huangnan and Yushu, all in Qinghai Province, as well as in Haidong Prefecture south to Xining, the provincial capital.
More new photovoltaic stations will be constructed at more than 60 villages in the above mentioned regions during the second phase of the cooperation program .
It is estimated 5,400 rural households will be brought within reach of electrical supply when the second phase is finished by July next year.
Situated deep in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Qinghai Province abounds in solar resources, with annual average sunlight standing between 2,300 hours and 3,600 hours.
A survey conducted in 2004 showed there was no power supply in some 1,000 villages across Qinghai.