The Kela hydro-photovoltaic (PV) complementary power station, said to be the world’s largest and highest-altitude mega project, has commenced producing electricity.

The complementary hydro-PV power station is located in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, in Yajiang County, southwest Sichuan Province, China.

It lies at an altitude ranging between 4,000m and 4,600m, with its highest point being around 1,000m higher than Lhasa, the capital city of Southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region.

Kela power station covers a total of around 1,667ha of the area and has an installed capacity of one million kilowatts to generate an average of two billion kWh annually.

PowerChina Chengdu Engineering is responsible for the surveying, design, procurement, construction, commissioning, grid connection, and power generation for one-third of the project.

The Chinse engineering and construction company commenced the design planning for the Kela project in 2016 and started construction in July last year.

During the construction, the project encountered various challenges, including the low oxygen levels due to its high altitude, where the oxygen levels were up to 50% lower than the plains.

In addition, frequent extreme weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy snowfall, and freezing temperatures, along with tight deadlines, all the construction.

The construction team used its experience gained from constructing numerous high-altitude projects, including the world’s highest-altitude wind farm, to overcome the challenges.

Kela is a complementary hydro-PV power station, which combines solar and hydropower in an effective way to make it more stable.

The project is said to address the instability, fluctuation, and intermittency of PV power generation, which has a certain impact on the safety of the power grid.

Kela project will be connected to the Lianghekou hydroelectric power station, which was designed by PowerChina Chengdu, integrating the electricity generated into the power grid.

The project is estimated to save more than 600,000 tons of standard coal per annum and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.6 million tons.

In addition, the project drives the development of agriculture, animal husbandry, tourism, and transportation in the adjacent ethnic minority regions, said Global Times.