The project was awarded under a 1 GW tender intended to install renewable generation capacity in former mining areas where subsidence and flooding have left huge basins of standing water.
French floating PV specialist Ciel & Terre has completed work on a 70 MW floating solar installation for state-owned developer China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group.
The project is connected to the grid at a former coal mine in the city of Suzhou, in the northern part of Anhui province. China Energy Conservation Solar Technology oversaw construction and China Energy Engineering Group Shanxi Electric Power Design Institute provided EPC services, according to an emailed statement.
“The plant completion is a technical achievement considering its size,” Ciel & Terre said, pointing to the use of centralized inverters integrated with medium-voltage transformers held above the surface of the water on poles. “Overall, 1,500 helical anchors were used for the project and buried from eight to 15-meter depth to fit the configuration of the site.”
To facilitate grid connection, the project included the installation of a 110 V transmission line spanning roughly 18 km, across what Ciel & Terre described as “13 islets”. The 140-hectare installation is the French company’s biggest project to date. It is expected to generate about 77.8 GWh of electricity in its first year of operation.
Ciel & Terre first announced plans to work on the 70 MW floating PV project in June 2017, stating it expected to complete the project in the final quarter of that year. The developer had already supplied its proprietary Hydrelio floating platforms for another 32 MW floating PV installation in Anhui province.
The floating PV specialist – based in Sainghin-en-Mélantois, near the northern French city of Lille – claims its Hydrelio technology prevents the accumulation of algae on bodies of water and minimizes evaporation.
*This article was amended on Thursday, March 21. We initially reported that this project was the world’s largest floating PV project in the world, which is not the case. We apologize for the error.