The largest floating photovoltaic facility on earth has finally been completed and connected to the local power grid as China takes a major step towards becoming a solar energy superpower
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May 28, 2017 2,445 23
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China has announced that the largest floating photovoltaic facility on earth has finally been completed and connected to the local power grid. Long reviled for its carbon emission record, this is the Chinese government’s latest achievement in its ongoing effort to lead the world in renewable energy adoption.

Located in the city of Huainan in the Anhui province, the 40-megawatt facility was created by photovoltaic inverter manufacturer Sungrow Power Supply Co. Ironically, the floating grid itself was constructed over a flooded former coal-mining region.

40 megawatt floating photovoltaic facility power plant  /  image by Sungrow Power Supply Co  /  source DigitalTrends.com

Sungrow Power Supply Co has said the largest floating photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 40 megawatts had been grid connected on former flooded coal mining region in Huainan, south Anhui province

Floating solar farms are becoming increasingly popular around the world because their unique design addresses multiple efficiency and city planning issues. These floating apparatuses free up land in more populated areas and also reduce water evaporation. The cooler air at the surface also helps to minimize the risk of solar cell performance atrophy, which is often related to long-term exposure to warmer temperatures.

This is just the first of many solar energy operations popping up around China. In 2016, the country unveiled a similar 20MW floating facility in the same area. China is also home to the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, a massive 10-square-mile, land-based facility touted as the largest solar power plant on earth.

This transition to solar is in large part due to the rapidly plummeting cost of the technology itself. By 2020, China could reduce prices offered to photovoltaic developers by more than a third with solar power plants projected to rival coal facilities within a decade. The nation has also announced plans to increase its use of non-fissile fuel energy sources by 20 percent.

An annual report released by NASA and NOAA determined that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally, marking the third year in a row in which a new record was set for global average surface temperatures. That said, if we as a species hope to reverse this dire trend, initiatives like this and others will need to be adopted around the globe.

Although there is no direct link at this time, the solar panels look very similar to the product made by Ciel & Terre which might be contracted or acquired by Sungrow Power Supply Co. Since 2011, the French company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions.

Their innovative Hydrelio Floating photovoltaic system allows standard photovoltaic panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs. This simple and affordable alternative to ground-mounted systems is particularly suitable for water-intensive industries who cannot afford to waste either land or water.

According to Ciel & Terre, the system is easy to install and dismantle, can be adapted to any electrical configuration, is scalable from low to high power generation, and requires no tools or heavy equipment. It is also eco-friendly, fully recyclable, has low environmental impact and is cost effective. To date the system has been installed in the UK, and a Japanese system will be installed by March 2016.

Large-scale floating solar solutions  /  image by Ciel and Terre  /  source Ciel and Terre

Hydrelio floating photovoltaic system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs

7.75 megawatt peak Hydrelio floating system in Umenoki, Japan  /  image by Ciel and Terre  /  source Ciel and Terre

Hydrelio floating photovoltaic system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs

1.2 megawatt peak Hydrelio floating system in Okegawa, Japan  /  image by Ciel and Terre  /  source Ciel and Terre

Hydrelio floating photovoltaic system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs

1.2 megawatt peak Hydrelio floating system in Okegawa, Japan  /  image by Ciel and Terre  /  source Ciel and Terre

Hydrelio floating photovoltaic system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs

The main float is constructed of high-density thermoplastic (HDPE) and is set at a 12 degree angle to support a standard 60 Cell PV solar module. A secondary non-slip HDPE float is then used to link the main floats together and provide a platform for maintenance and added buoyancy as illustrated below.

Unique patented floating solar solution by Ciel and Terre  /  image by Ciel and Terre  /  source Alternative-Energy-News.info

Hydrelio floating photovoltaic system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs

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Source and references

  1. DigitalTrends.com by by Dallon Adams - The world’s largest floating solar power plant just went online in China
  2. Designboom.com by Beatrice Murray-Nag - The world's largest floating solar plant starts producing power in Huainan, China
  3. iDropNews.com by Jonathan Lee - World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant Opens in China
  4. CleanTechnica.com by Steve Hanley - China Activates World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant
  5. PV-Tech.org By Mark Osborne - China completes largest floating solar power plant
  6. TreeHugger.com by Sami Grover - World's largest floating solar farm, now online in China
  7. DailyDot.com by Phillip Tracy - China created the world’s largest floating solar farm on a former coal-mining site
  8. Inhabitat.com by Amanda Froelich - World’s largest floating solar farm is now generating energy in China
  9. CleanTechnology-Business-Review.com - Sungrow inverters power world's largest floating PV power plant
  10. Konbini.com by Matthew Kirby - China Is Now Being Powered By The Largest Floating Solar Farm On Earth
  11. ChinaWaterRisk.org by Hubert Thieriot and Yuanchao Xu - Floating Solar: A Solution for China?
  12. BBC.com - Wargrave farm unveils 'first' floating solar panels
  13. IndiaTimes.com by Debjoy Sengupta, Et Bureau - NTPC installs India’s largest Floating Solar PV Plant in Kerala
  14. TheGuardian.com by Tom Phillips - China builds world's biggest solar farm in journey to become green superpower
  15. NASA.gov by Karen Northon - NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally
  16. Ciel and Terre The Floating Solar Expert - Ciel and Terre design, finance and operate large scale floating solar photovoltaic farm
  17. Alternative-Energy-News.info - Floating solar panels: a viable solution?
  18. Sungrow Power Supply Co - The worlds largest PV inverter manufacturer

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Last updated 8 months ago on November 16, 2017 at 11:56 PM PST

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