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World’s largest floating solar plant begins operations in China

Huainan, in Anhui Province is described as a coal-rich city and has been the source of much of the coal used to power the Chinese economy. Yet, the coal mines are now flooded due to rainy weather and covered with water several meters deep after the surrounding land collapsed in a process known as subsidence following intensive coal mining operations over a period of years.

Built by Chinese Photo voltaic manufacturer Sungrow Power Supply Co, the Huainan facility dwarfs the next-biggest floating solar farm – a 20-megawatt stretch, also in Anhui province. A spokesperson from the local government said:

The power plant is based in a subsided area of mining which is flooded due to the rainy weather with depth of water ranging from 4 to 10 meters in Huainan, a coal-rich city in south Anhui province. And the seriously mineralized water makes this area valueless. The plant not only makes full use of this area, reducing the demand for lands, but also improves generation due to the cooling effects of the surface.

Floating solar power plants are becoming increasingly popular across the globe due to their ability to reduce evaporation from reservoirs. As the water also cools the surrounding air, it can reduce solar module degradation and increase efficiency of production too.
READ MORE: Scientists accidentally helping poachers to find rare animals
China which emits more greenhouse gases than the United States and the European Union combined is generally scorned globally for its polluted environment. However, in the recent years, China has embraced renewable energy in a big way. The country’s solar power output increased by 80% over the first three months of 2017. It has pledged to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into solar power as well as wind and hydro by the year 2020.

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