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China is set to develop a world first 150MW floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant as a pilot to reduce the current cost of solar energy.

According to Climate Action Programme, the plant is being developed by the Chinese state-owned Three Gorges Group, which commenced construction in July this year.

Floating PV plant

Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported last week that the first phase has been commissioned and is already contributing power to the grid.

With a $150 million price tag, the plant is expected to reach completion in May 2018.

Once completed, Climate Action reported that it will officially break the record for the largest floating solar farm in the world. Read more…

“Interestingly, the power plant is located in an array of panels affixed to a flotation mechanism atop a lake formed in Panji District, Huainan City, after a former coal mine collapsed and had to be filled with water.

“The body of water was seen as an optimal location to implement the floating PV technology, with the Three Gorges company also considering establishing a complimentary fishing model that will stimulate the local economy and enrich the ecosystem services of the site,” Climate Action reported.

Future benefits

Chairman on the Three Gorges Group, Lu Chun, believes that the completed plant is an opportunity to drive down the cost of solar.

Climate Action explained: “Since the solar panels will be attached to floats instead of being ground-mounted, the installation process will be is cheaper and faster to complete.

“The water not only helps keep the temperature cool around the PV panels, therefore, boosting their efficiency, but it also limits long-term degradation from heat.”

In addition, when installed in irrigation or drinking water reservoirs, they also reduce water loss through evaporation.

 

Featured image: Climate Action Programme