How do you increase your solar energy utilization when you require large area of your land for agriculture or housing?
Answer: You Simply take your solar PV plant to water, that’s what most of the countries in Asia doing.
The world’s first floating solar plant was built in Japan, in Aichi Prefecture in central Honshu. The country’s many inland lakes and reservoirs are now home to 73 of the world’s 100 largest floating solar plants and account for half of those plants’ 246 megawatts of solar capacity. Floating solar is particularly well suited to Asia, where land is scarce but there are many hydroelectric dams with existing transmission infrastructure. China has just connected the world’s biggest floating solar plant at Anhui, which will generate almost 78,000 megawatts in its first year, enough to power 21,000 homes.
But Anhui’s record may not stand for very long. Next year, South Korea is due to complete what it says will become the world’s largest floating solar plant, delivering 102.5 megawatts, capable of powering 35,000 homes. Singapore has built an offshore floating solar power plant in the Strait of Johor and Thailand plans 16 floating solar projects on nine hydropower dam reservoirs.
The World’s top 10 floating solar power plants
World floating solar output grew 100-fold from 2014 to 2018. It could soon provide more power than conventional land-based systems. The pace is picking up. India recently announced it plans to create 10 gigawatts of floating solar capacity.
Although its proponents say floating solar has massive potential, critics worry it may harm marine ecosystems by blocking sunlight. They also point to its vulnerability to bad weather. In 2017, a typhoon did considerable damage to an installation near Osaka.
On the up side, floating solar linked to hydroelectric plants has the potential to maintain power supplies when water levels drop. Experts say that it works well where power grids are weak. They think sub-Saharan Africa could be the next big beneficiary of the technology.
World bank has made a detailed report on floating solar market which can be found here.
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