The Lunar New Year has only just ended, and the festive atmosphere is still lingering. Zhou Zhihua, a resident of the town of Donggou in Jiangsu’s Funing County, refuses to stay idle and is looking forward to getting back to work at the GCL Donggou Symbiotic PV Power Station (a power station in which there is a symbiotic relationship between agricultural activity and PV power generation): “In March, we are going to plant soybeans, so I need to make preparations.” Since beginning to work at the power station, his income has doubled.

On the same piece of land being warmed by the sun rays, farmers earn rent and wages from an organic integration of PV power, the agricultural industry, and poverty alleviation, a concept that is maximizing the use of the land and helping many families out of poverty. As the pioneer and main force behind the PV-powered poverty alleviation campaign, the number that GCL has built PV-powered poverty alleviation power stations that ranks first in the industry, and GCL has added a total of 37,935 poor families and been committed to working on poverty alleviation for 20 years with a budget of RMB2.07 billion. According to GCL Chairman Zhu Gongshan, “GCL seeks to invigorate beautiful rural areas by means of the green energy industry, turning the brilliance of sunshine into a means to help the locals out of poverty.”

GCL’s 117-MW PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Power Station in Funan County, Anhui
Making the Most of Sunlight in Beautiful Rural Areas

Zhou Zhihua is a man in his sixties who does simple tasks such as weeding and spraying agrochemicals at the Donggou Symbiotic PV Power Station in Funing County. Each day, he earns at least RMB70 and sometimes over RMB100. Since he began renting out his 3-mu land for use as a part of the PV power station, he earns RMB 3,300 in rental income per year. He and his wife also work at the power station for over four months each year. As a result, their additional combined annual income is close to RMB30,000, which is two to three times greater than when they simply farmed their land on their own.

The Donggou Symbiotic PV Power Station in Funing County was connected to the grid on January 31, 2016. It is GCL’s response to a national call to leaders in the PV industry. The station is a model for the industry, being equipped with the most advanced PV technology in China (and even the world). For the locals, this integration between PV power, the agricultural industry, and poverty alleviation not only generates more income as they rent out their land but also provides good local jobs. Thus, many of the locals are earning money by both renting out their land and working for the power station.

Vice Chairman Zhu Yufeng of GCL stated that PV-powered poverty alleviation is a new path that integrates industry, ecological protection, and clean energy in aiding the poor. On the same piece of land being warmed by the sun rays, people’s incomes are increasing and rural areas are being reinvigorated through the organic integration of PV power, the agricultural industry, and poverty alleviation. In this way, GCL is making the most of the sunlight and the land.

Beneath the Donggou power station PV panels are over 20 fruit and vegetable greenhouses, over 200-mu peonies being grown for oil, 20-mu rice fields (in which fish and crabs are raised), and fields in which rice, soybeans, corn, rapeseed and other such crops are alternately grown. In this way, the power, grain, and aquaculture industries are advancing together.

Yin Zhengyi, head of the power station at Donggou, said that another 200-mu aquaculture rice fields will be expanded this year, and within two or three years, the station will register a trademark in an effort to become a nationally recognized model of a symbiotic PV power station.

GCL New Energy Vice President Zhang Yaobang believes that the integration of PV power and the agricultural industry is an effective path to industrial growth, poverty alleviation, and prosperity for rural areas. After years of practices, GCL New Energy has found new standards in the symbiotic relationship between PV power and the agricultural industry, allowing the land to be used in a way that rural areas, GCL, and the agriculture industry all benefit. By using the land to generate power and grow crops, they are indeed making the most of the sunlight and the land.

In addition to helping farmers earn more, the PV power station also provides a consistent supply of green energy for rural villages. The installations for the first and second phases at the Donggou power station have a generating capacity of 15MW and an annual grid-connected capacity of 20 million kWh. The third phase of the installation, which is currently under construction and is to generate 16 MW, will be connected to the grid during the first half of this year. When that happens, the annual output for the station will exceed 40 million kWh.

Xinhua 40-MW PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Power Station in Yuncheng County, Shandong
Helping Women Like Zhang Guihua out of Poverty with Sunshine

Before the Lunar New Year, a silk banner was brought to GCL New Energy’s Xinhua 40-MW PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Power Station in Yuncheng, Shandong by a local elderly woman named Zhang Guihua fashionably dressed in a newly bought, yellow-checked coat with her hair arranged nicely. The gold print on the banner reads, “A strong sense of social responsibility and effective effort toward poverty alleviation.” She brought many other locals with her to present the banner, express gratitude, and wish a happy new year to the workers at the power station.

She said, “Since you have come, we have gained so much. We have been farmers our whole lives; we never thought we would ever earn wages! And in the winter, you worried we would be cold and hungry, so you gave us blankets, rice, and oil….” While saying this, she firmly held the hand of one of the power station workers, using simple language and speaking on and on about her gratitude and feelings.

In the past, her family fell into poverty because of illness. Today, the Xinhua 40-MW PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Power Station rents about six mu of land from her at an annual rate of RMB1,200 per mu. Beginning in the summer of 2017, she began doing less-demanding tasks such as weeding at the station, and she was surprised that she had earned a total of 4,000 – 5,000 RMB in wages by the end of the year. Moreover, with other subsidies directed at poverty alleviation, her income for that year exceeded RMB10,000.

About 1,600 households are reaping rewards from this PV power station, each household earning RMB3,000 per year from the PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Policy. This has helped nearly 40% of poor households in the town of Houyanji break the chains of poverty. As is apparent, the locals have truly experienced the benefits and improvements brought about by the power station.

The Xinhua 40-MW PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Power Station in Yuncheng was connected to the grid in March of 2017. Located in the town of Houyanji, it is well-endowed with about 2,600 hours of sunlight per year. This station is part of the first national-level poverty alleviation project in Shandong, and from the outset, it has been a symbiotic PV power station. PV panels have been installed atop greenhouses inside which are organically grown fruits and vegetables. At the station’s outdoor cultivation areas are grown such Chinese medicinal herbs as Lycopus lucidus and chrysanthemums. There are now 173 PV greenhouses in this area, and it is thus in the early stages of becoming a model of integration between PV power, the agriculture industry, and poverty alleviation.

GCL New Energy Vice President Xu Yang stated, “PV power station poverty alleviation is a project that goes to the people’s hearts, and GCL New Energy will continue to actively shoulder its responsibility to society, carrying out these projects to the best of our ability.”

On October 17, 2016, the National Energy Administration and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development worked together in jointly issuing the Notification on the First Phase of Poverty Alleviation Projects. Of the over 70 new-energy companies under consideration to take part in the projects, the generating capacity of GCL New Energy was the highest at 250MW. By June 30, 2017, on the foundation of the national-level power station described above, GCL New Energy had built a 548MW provincial PV-powered poverty alleviation power station, becoming the industry leader in this aspect with a total capacity of 798MW. In addition, GCL New Energy still has a proposal for another 492MW PV-powered poverty alleviation power station project, which will be connected to the grid by June 30, 2018. At that time, GCL New Energy will have reached a total generating capacity of 1,290MW for these stations, taking another step in solidifying its position at the top of the industry.

GCL’s 117-MW PV-powered Poverty Alleviation Power Station in Funan County, Anhui
Barren Slopes Turned into a Source of Wealth through an Exemplary Poverty Alleviation Project

It is early spring, a time at which the weather alternates between warm and cold. The village of Honghuawo in Sanmenxia City of Henan had always been a place of barren slopes with little appeal to anyone. But today, those slopes have been turned into a source of wealth for the locals: GCL System Integration built a 600-kW poverty alleviation power station that was connected to the grid before the New Year. Each of the 80 households of the village will receive at least RMB3,000 annually from the project.

This power station has given hope to the impoverished locals of Honghuawo. Rencun Township (where the village of Honghuawo is located) CPC Party Secretary Cheng Honghai stated, “Without one bit of investment, impoverished households throughout Honghuawo will be provided with a stable income. The barren slopes have been put to good use and are helping the poor.”

The PV-powered poverty alleviation station built by GCL System Integration in Honghuawo is a major breakthrough in poverty alleviation in Sanmenxia City. GCL Energy Engineering, a wholly owned subsidiary of GCL System Integration, won the bid for a 140-million-watt village-level poverty alleviation power station project in Sanmenxia; the station at Honghuawo is the first of these stations.

The Sanmenxia poverty alleviation power station project is being carried out based on the “impoverished village project initiation + government funding + enterprise sponsorship” model. 20,000 households were selected from a total of 60,000 households throughout the city, with each household calculated to obtain 7,000 watts from the power station. With each construction unit being defined as a power station not to exceed 300,000 watts, about 500 impoverished villages are to receive PV-power generation equipment (on the ground or on rooftops) throughout the city. In all, it will be a 140-million-watt project that is to operate for 20 years.

Tang Shufeng, Project Manager of GCL Energy Engineering, stated that 50 village-level power stations had been completed by the end of 2017, and the rest of the project will be completed and on the grid by June 30, 2018.

At the site of the power station in Shipen Village of Sanmenxia’s Mianchi County, rows of solar panels stand on steep and rocky slopes. Ping Fuqiang, the local clerk in charge of poverty alleviation, said with emotion, “Those rocky slopes used to just grow weeds, but now, with the joint efforts of the government and a power company, they have become a source of tangible wealth to the locals.

GCL System Integration Vice President Chai Jingyu stated, “Working to protect the natural environment and build a model that benefits the people has always been our objective in the PV-powered poverty alleviation project from the beginning.”


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