solar panel

Huge floating solar farm produces first power for Chinese grid

Image credit: DT

A floating solar panel farm that is claimed to be the world's largest is being built in Anhui, one of China’s eastern provinces.

Yesterday, part of the 150MW project was connected to the national grid for the first time and the entire facility is expected to come online by May 2018.

The project is being built by China’s Three Gorges Corp, a state-owned power company best known for constructing the Three Gorges Dam system: the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant, which went into operation in 2008.

In total the solar project is expected to cost 1bn yuan (£113m) and first started construction in July this year on a lake in an area of coal-mining subsidence.

It will generate electricity equivalent to burning 53,000 tons of standard coal and meet the electricity demand of about 94,000 urban and rural families.

Lu Chun, chairman of China Three Gorges Corporation, said that the project represented an exciting ‘exploration’ of new energy development and represented a path forward for Chinese cities to reduce their emissions and impact on the environment.

A recent study found that China’s air pollution problem was so severe that it actually reduced the amount of electricity generated by solar panels because sunlight could not pierce through the haze of particulates as efficiently as when the skies are clear. 

The Three Gorges Corp said it found ways to reduce the cost of the entire operation and subsequent maintenance, making similar future projects more attractive.

Some of the solar power produced in China is reportedly wasted due to congestion on the energy grid.

Data from the National Energy Administration found that about 5.6 per cent of solar power generation was idle in the first three quarters of this year.

In April a report suggested that China could pump 5.4tn yuan (£630bn) into its wind and solar sectors between 2016 and 2030 as the country attempts to meet its renewable energy targets. 

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