- A 1 GW solar power plant is planned to be built in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
- China’s GCL-SI and state-backed China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CCEC) will collaborate on the project
- While GCL-SI provide its consultancy services along with PV facilities for the project, CCEC will be the general contractor
Chinese company GCL System Integration technology Co., Ltd. (GCL-SI) has announced that it will be taking up the task of building a PV power plant at the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor site. It will be collaborating with fellow Chinese firm China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CCEC).
The over 1 GW capacity PV power plant will be set up in the exclusion zone at the nuclear power plant site, which was evacuated after the meltdown in 1986. Ukraine’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources wants to use this land to develop a solar power plant at the spot.
GCL-SI Chairman Shu Hua said, “There will be remarkable social benefits and economical ones as we try to renovate the once damaged area with green and renewable energy. We are glad that we are making joint efforts with Ukraine to rebuild the community for the local people. We have been dedicated to providing integrated solar services and will take diverse approaches this year to drive penetration and achieve global presence. The Chernobyl project is also one of our key steps to approach abroad.”
GCL-SI will offer its consultancy, planning service as well as PV facilities for the project, the CCEC will be the general contractor that will manage the entire project. The companies plan to start construction in 2017.
GCL-SI is part of the Golden Concord Group (GCL). GCL is the world’s largest manufacturer of silicon and wafers and has recently expanded into module manufacturing as well. It is also quickly moving into solar project development. CCEC is a subsidiary of the state run National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH).
There have talks on building solar on the contaminated land in Chernobyl for many years, but cost and financing have been the biggest hurdles in the past. The Ukranian government had been planning a 4 GW solar power plant within the Chernobyl exclusion zone, according to a July report from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD, which said it ‘may consider participating in the project so long as there are viable investment proposals and all other environmental matter and risks can be addressed to the Bank’s satisfaction’.
The Guardian reported, also in July 2016, that the government wanted to use some of the idle land or ‘placement of electrical generation facilities, and some for energy crops’. The idea was to have 1,000 MW of solar power and another 400 MW of other renewable energy generation at the site.
GCL’s announcement comes at a time, a big confinement is being moved over both the melted reactor and the crumbling sarcophagus to cover the site for around 100 years.