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Innovative method for anti-desertification wins praise in Inner Mongolia

Updated: 2018-07-26 Print

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Around 600,000 photovoltaic cell panels are erected at the anti-desertification base in Hanggin Banner, Ordos. [Photo/cnr.cn]

An innovative practice aiming to fight desertification in the city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, has been praised by the public, following a wide array of reports by various media organizations.

People find it hard to believe that plants can be grown under panels of photovoltaic cells, but the Elion Resources Group has made this a reality. 

At the anti-desertification base in Hanggin Banner, which is a part of Kubuqi Desert, the seventh-largest desert in China, more than 600,000 photovoltaic cell panels have been erected with an inclining angle of 40 degrees, covering 1,333 hectares. 

Thanks to the area’s 3,180 hours of sunshine every year, these panels can generate as much as 500 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, bringing economic revenue of 450 million yuan ($66 million). 

Meanwhile, these panels can also help prevent sand from mobilizing by shielding it from the wind. 

Cold- and drought-resistant plants such as liquorice and alfalfa are grown under the panels, which provide them with moderate sunlight and temperatures. 

These plants, featuring biological nitrogen fixation, are able to increase the fertility of the soil. When they grow up, these plants can be processed into medicines or fodders for economic benefits. 

Now, the right to management of the plants is authorized to 15 low-income residents, who are also entitled to the revenues. Each of the residents can increase their average income by 20,000 yuan every year due to the creative practice. 

Several low-income residents in the area are raising poultry between the panels. The number of animals is limited to 5,000, which makes the soil more fertile while avoiding excessive damage to the plants. 

The water and electricity used to raise the poultry is provided by the base for free, but the revenues are shared by the farmers. 

Ecology, economy and livelihood are three key words when it comes to the description of the pattern of fighting against the desertification in Kubuqi Desert.  

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Plants such as liquorice and alfalfa are grown under the panels. [Photo/cnr.cn]

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