Coal mine makes way for floating solar farm

China’s latest megaproject is a solar farm that floats on top of a flooded former coal mine.
Image credit: Sungrow

Chinese energy company Sungrow Power Supply has built the world’s largest floating solar farm on top of a lake that was once the site of extensive coal mining in China's Anhui province. The 166 000-panel array can generate 40MW of power and will operate for up to 25 years.

The decision to develop the Sungrow farm on an abandoned coal mine illustrates the slow decline of fossil fuels like coal in China, which has some of the worst air pollution in the world. In addition to protecting agricultural land and wildlife on the ground, building solar plants on top of lakes and reservoirs enables the water to cool the solar panels, helping them work more efficiently.

China is one of the biggest spenders in the renewable energy and technology sectors, and this latest massive megaproject will be eclipsed in size by an even larger one that began construction in December last year. Also located in Anhui, this USD151-million floating solar farm – being built by the China Three Gorges Corp. – is expected to come online by May and will produce up to 150MW of power for about 94 000 homes.

World's largest floating solar farm in E China

The 40MW solar plant is built on the surface of a lake formed by accumulating rain water in a coal mine subsidence area in east China's Anhui.
Video credit: New China TV

08 Feb 2018

By Robyn
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