Extreme levels of pollution across China are becoming catastrophic, and now Beijing has begun taking radical steps toward developing clean energy by beginning construction on a 10 square mile solar power station that will generate a massive 200 megawats of solar thermal energy.

Announced by the Qinghai development and reform commission, the plant is expected to cover 10 square miles (25.9 km²), with enough capacity to power one million households. It is also designed to store 15 hours of heat, which will enable continuous power generation. This move is expected to cut the region’s coal usage by 4.26 million tons annually, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 896,000 tons.

This plant will also be the first one operated as a commercial project, as opposed to the traditional state-run format that China has employed. Beijing has increased it’s solar power capacity 400-fold over the past decade, with plans to increase that capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2020.

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