Science

World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm Now Operational in China

By | Jun 11, 2017 10:53 PM EDT
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World's largest floating solar farm in China. (Photo : Sungrow Power Supply)

The world's largest floating solar power plant located in a man-made lake in China's Anhui province is now online and is capable of producing 40 megawatts of electricity.

The exact size of this huge array of solar panels wasn't revealed by its developer, Sungrow Power Supply. The company did, however, say this power plant near the city of Huainan located in a lake caused by a collapsed coal mine can generate enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

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The plant is the largest floating solar power plant in the world.

It eclipses the capacity of the United Kingdom's 23,000-panel floating solar farm on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow Airport. Electricity generated by this farm helps power the Thames Water treatment plant.

The Sungrow floating power plant produces more than twice the power generated by another floating solar power plant also located in Anhui. This plant, which began operations only in 2016, is operated by Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-based investment holding company principally engaged in the manufacture and sales of solar panels.

Sungrow's floating solar power plant is connected to the city's power grid. The panels float on the surface of the water, which ranges in depth from four to 10 meters.

The floating solar farm occupies an area that saw intensive coal mining. Subsidence and heavy rains created the lake where the solar panels are located.

Building a solar farm on bodies of water, especially manmade lakes that are not ecologically sensitive, help protect agricultural land and terrestrial ecosystems from being developed for energy use.

The water also cools the electronics in the solar panels, helping them to work more efficiently.

China is the largest solar energy producer in the world. Its solar energy production capacity reached 77.42 gigawatts in 2016, according to the National Energy Administration. Renewables account for 11 per cent of China's energy use.


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