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Photovoltaic power stations in NW China’s Qinghai province help local villagers secure livelihood

Located on plateau and boasting rich solar energy resources, northwest China’s Qinghai province has seized the opportunities generated by favorable policies and vigorously integrated the development of the photovoltaic (PV) industry into its poverty alleviation endeavors, lifting impoverished local residents out of poverty and facilitating steady growth in their incomes.

So far, the total installed capacity of poverty-relief PV power projects built across the province has reached 731,600 kilowatts, and the annual power generation output value of these projects is expected to reach 880 million yuan (about $130 million).

These PV power projects have generated 570 million yuan for poverty alleviation, helping secure livelihood for 283,000 poor people from 77,000 local households, accounting for 52.5 percent of the province’s poor population.

“Our life is really good now,” said Lhage Gya, a 56-year-old resident in Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Hainan, Qinghai province, who has benefited from the PV power projects a lot.

“I used to live in a shabby adobe house in the mountains and barely had a decent piece of furniture,” he said, adding that he needed to fetch drinking water from more than one kilometer away and his family could hardly make ends meet by raising cattle and sheep as the grass didn’t grow well.

The man is now living in a cozy home with Tibetan-style couches and a side-by-side refrigerator.

In response to the call of the government, Lhage Gya’s family moved to Qiezha village, Niandi township of Gonghe county, Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Hainan, in August 2017, and has gradually become better off ever since.

“Last year, I made over 35,000 yuan, including my wages, subsidies from the prohibition of grazing on grassland, as well as the dividends from the PV power projects,” said Lhage Gya.

“The village-level PV power stations have guaranteed a stable source of income for local villagers,” noted an official in Niandi township, explaining that 60 percent of the income from the power stations is used to develop collective economy in the village while the rest 40 percent is used to pay salaries of villagers on public welfare jobs.

The village has built hotels, shops and restaurants along national highways near the village in a bid to stimulate tourism, the official said, adding that the effort has helped villagers secure jobs near their homes and gradually shake off poverty.

The PV power stations of Qiezha village are located in a poverty alleviation PV power station industrial park in Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Hainan.

The blue PV panels extending all the way to the foot of the faraway mountains on the green grasslands look spectacular like sparkling sea under the blue sky and white clouds.  

The industrial park consists of five county-level PV power stations and 11 village-level stations, according to Dai Helou, chairman of a poverty alleviation and development company in Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Hainan.

As of the end of July, the industrial park had generated 133 million kilowatt-hours of electricity accumulatively, bringing nearly 100 million yuan in revenue to the locality, Dai said.

The income from each village-level PV power station is shared by several poverty-stricken villages, Dai disclosed, adding that these PV power stations have helped increase the income of the 173 poverty-stricken villages across the prefecture by an average of more than 570,000 yuan each.

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