The Three Gorges area is now the site of the world’s largest floating solar power plant. It is a coal mine in eastern China which collapsed years ago, leaving a great hole in the ground that subsequently filled with water. It was completed in May of 2018. A hundred and fifty (150) megawatts of electrical power will be generated from the $151 million installation and the Three Gorges Group will operate the new solar power plant, an instrument of the Chinese government.
Lu Chun, the chairman of Three Gorges Group stated that the floating solar is an opportunity to reduce the cost of solar power. The solar panels for this latest project will be attached to floats, a process that is faster, simpler, and cheaper; instead of installing permanent racking systems that have to be mounted in the ground.
As announced by Three Gorges Group on December 10th, the first phase of the big project has now been completed and connected to the local electrical grid. The solar power will also be used to revitalize commercial fishing in the local area, thereby bringing more economic benefits to the area. Before now, Sungrow Power Supply has constructed the largest floating solar installation in China, a 40 megawatt facility, in the same province.
China’s interest in floating solar is increasing as solar power farms in local areas like the Gobi Desert suffer because they cannot send all their available power to market due to restrictions in the electrical grid. According to China’s National Energy Administration, due to grid congestion, up to 6% of solar power generated within China was not used productively in the first three quarters of this year.