The world’s largest floating photovoltaic power station was connected to the grid and started generating power in Anhui province on Sunday, with the remaining capacity to be connected in May, said China Three Gorges Corp, the world’s largest hydropower producer.
The company invested 1 billion yuan ($151 million) in the 150MW floating photovoltaic power station, located in Huainan, using the water surface from an area of coal mining subsidence.
Construction of the project started in July and it is set to become fully operational by May, said the company.
“This floating power plant is a new exploration in the development of renewable energy and it lays solid foundations for its nationwide application,” said Lu Chun, chairman of China Three Gorges Corp.
“We will make it the largest and most intelligent solar power project with the most advanced technology in the world.”
Analysts said currently only small and medium-sized hydropower projects remain untapped in China, which leaves less room for growth.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst tracking Asia utilities at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the floating PV station is part of the company’s efforts to diversify its business as there is a decline in new hydropower projects.
“Hydroelectric power in China in terms of new additions will have limited growth given the exploitable resources have already been grabbed,” said Jacobelli.
“Those areas where hydroelectric power plants are easy to build have already been fully exploited and it makes a lot of sense for Three Gorges to look at related clean technologies.”
China Three Gorges Corp has been exploring wind, solar, nuclear and other forms of new energy beyond its core business, as potential new hydropower opportunities at home decline.
It said earlier that it plans to build itself into a clean-energy conglomerate, with total installed capacity of 100 gigawatts by 2020.