Floating Solar and Fishery Chalks Another Success in China with 120 MW plant

Months after the start of a 260 MW plant in China’s Anhui province that was made by China General Nuclear Power Group , that used floating solar and allowed fishery at the site, comes news of another 120 MW plant going online.

The new plant  is located at Cixi, in Zhejiang province of China.The plant, which has secured a tariff of ($0.12)/kWh or Rs 8.50, is the second phase of a 320 MW project owned by Chinese developer Hangzhou Fengling. An earlier 200MW phase was completed in 2017.

As always, the big challenge in these plants has been the work of inverter suppliers. While the Anhui plant had Huawei as supplier, this new plant by Hangzhou Fengling has inverters from Chinese inverter maker Shenzhen Kstar Science and Technology, which supplied its GSL2500C-MV and GSL1250 central inverters for the second phase.

For India, which has made very tentative steps with floating solar, the quick evolution of floating solar in China to work in combination with fishery is a positive, as it opens up a more effective revenue model for floating solar. With costs being higher here, there is always pressure to bring it down to grid parity levels in India, and an additional revenue source should be welcome. Especially if done on low lying farmland being used for aquaculture, for instance.

Some of the country’s largest floating projects are of course being planned on reservoirs, mostly of state owned dams. While that limits the potential for fish farming or the need for it, it also limits the possibilities for real expansion of floating solar plants , in our view. As government execution tends to take longer, as already seen with the teething issues on the initial batch of projects that were considered.

Worldwide, floating solar is considered to have a high potential to grow, especially in Asia, where land availability close to the grid can be scarce.

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