The largest floating photovoltaic (PV) solar power facility on earth has been connected to a local power grid in China.
Located in the city of Huainan in the Anhui province, the 40-megawatt facility was created by PV inverter manufacturer Sungrow Power Supply.
The lake supporting the facility was created by rain after the surrounding land subsided after intensive coal mining operations.
Floating solar farms don't take up valuable land in heavily populated areas, can reduce evaporation from reservoirs and the cooler air at the water's surface helps to maximize cell performance.
Sungrow’s solar and energy storage inverters are designed with standardized 20-foot container specifications, drastically shortening the time required for installation and commissioning which in turn reduces overall installed costs.
Last year, operation of a similar 20MW floating facility commenced in the same area. China is also home to the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, a 10-square-mile, 850MW land-based facility touted as the largest solar power plant on earth which commenced operation in January.
China has pledged to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in renewable energy projects by the year 2020.
In the U.S., the San Diego County Water Authority tis considering a 6MW floating solar facility on the surface of the agency’s only reservoir. The 20-acre installation proposed for the Olivenhain Reservoir near Escondido would be the first in Southern California, although construction of several floating facilities are underway in Northern California.
The Kyocera Corporation in Japan announced last year that it will build a 13.7MW floating solar facility on the Yamakura Dam reservoir. It is due for completion in 2018.
Several countries including Singapore, Indonesia and Australia also have plans underway for the technology.