The area around what was once the Chernobyl nuclear plant has largely been abandoned since the tragic nuclear accident that took place in 1986, but two Chinese solar companies are eyeing the land to create a giant solar farm, according to Reuters.
GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI), a subsidiary of the GCL Group, and China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC) have stated their intentions to work together to create a field of solar panels that would generate over one gigawatt of power—enough to provide power to about 725,000 homes.
GCL plans to install the solar components, while CCEC will be in charge of managing the project.
The companies haven’t disclosed how much the project will cost to undertake, but they have the knowhow to make it work; These Chinese companies come from the country that is the world's biggest solar power generator, producing 43 gigawatts of capacity in 2015. China is also responsible for 72 percent of all solar power components produced, according to Everbright Securities.
According to a report from Reuters, the companies behind the project have not revealed the exact location where they plan to build, but noted the site has already undergone inspection and is available to be developed.
The massive farm of solar panels would be built within the exclusion zone, a 1,000 square mile area that was deemed uninhabitable and unusable for most land uses like forestry or agriculture. While other projects would be unsuitable inside the exclusion zone, the solar farm would actually benefit from some of the existing infrastructure still in place from the nuclear plant.
Ukraine began seeking a company to build a solar plant within the exclusion zone earlier this year in an effort to free itself from its reliance on Russian oil.
Belarus, a neighboring country to Ukraine, already set forth its own plans to build a solar plant inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The planned plant will provide enough power to illuminate the lights around the country’s capital city of Minsk.
While the exclusion zone has gone mostly untouched since the disastrous events at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the location has slowly been made more available. In 2011, Ukraine began offering tours to the public of the area. While the site has been mostly untouched by humans, wildlife has been thriving in the exclusion zone.