The world’s largest floating solar power plant went online last May, in Huainan province of China. It has been built by Sungrow, a supplier of PV inverter systems. This 40MW solar plant has now been completely connected to the local grid.
The location of the solar plant, in the past, hosted a coal mine which is now flooded due to rainwater, with a depth ranging from 4 to 10 metres. The plant utilises a space, which otherwise can’t be used because of heavy mineralisation of the water due to mining activities there in the past.
Solar power plants require much more land area for its setup than conventional power plants for per unit energy produced, which is a huge disadvantage especially, in countries like China, India where land per capita is much lower than countries like the USA. Floating solar plant addresses this issue by operating on water, reducing its land footprint significantly.
The water on which is the floating solar plant is located, evaporates automatically, which helps in cooling the photovoltaic panels. This helps in increasing the efficiency of the panels, which is a major selling point.
China is deeply affected by pollution and many of it major cities rank in the most polluted cities worldwide. It will be one of the countries which will be worst hit by the global warming. And if the rising sea level does not stop increasing, major Chinese cities located in coastal areas have a high risk of going underwater.
Once the largest source of pollution worldwide, now one of the biggest victims of pollution, China is taking major steps in reducing its carbon footprint. China has signed the Paris Agreement, closed down many coal power plants, increased the share of renewables in energy generation. Chinese companies are now mass producing green technologies, which is bringing the price of green tech down, making them affordable even for developing countries.
This floating solar plant is not the only major green project of China. Recently, Liuzhou, a Chinese city announced a forest city project which is expected to be completed by 2020.