The world’s largest floating solar power plant is now online in China. Built by Sungrow, a supplier of PV inverter systems, the 40MW plant is now afloat in water 4 to 10 metres deep, and successfully linked to Huainan, China’s grid.
The placement was chosen in large part because the area was previously the location of coal mining operations, and as a result, the water there is now mineralised and mostly useless.
The lake itself was only formed after years of mining operations, the surrounding land collapsed and created a cavity that was filled with rainwater.
Floating solar plants are advantageous because they put otherwise useless water and land to good use, and the water naturally cools the system and the ambient temperatures, improving generation and limiting long-term damage from heat.
They also avoid taking up space in densely populated regions, which is especially an issue in China; the country is currently home to more than 100 cities with populations of at least one million people each.
Building a solar farm on water is a really good idea for a simple reason. The seawater acts as a coolant, so the farm uses way less energy. The one they just hooked up will power around 15,000 homes. China, while they are the world’s largest polluter, is at least looking forward and realizing that things are changing.
The renewable energy sector is one of the fastest growing in the world. According to Forbes, in 2016, solar employed more people in the U.S the oil, coal, and gas combined. America has the capability to be the ones that lead the world into the future–something that made it great to begin with–but under its new orange leadership, doesn’t have the inclination.