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Floating PV Scales Up: Construction Begins on a 70 MWp

Can floating PV still be considered a niche market? Not when an energy powerhouse such as China undertakes to install 1GWp of water-based solar before 2018, in a single province.

©Ciel & Terre International – Hydrelio® floating PV system
A 70 MWp plant in construction in Anhui province, China – developed by CECEP

The National Energy Agency (NEA) of Anhui province initiated a tender in 2016 for the development of 1,000 MWp of floating PV power. Spread across a dozen sites, this will make up a third of the global FPV capacity forecasted for 2020. With this contract, the NEA aims to bolster energy infrastructure and environmental quality in this Eastern province, where intensive coal-mining operations have left vast, open-air reservoirs through a combination of land subsidence and flooding. The scheme has stood out as a top priority for the forward-thinking province ever since it was launched. Nine companies have won the opportunity to equip these inland reservoirs with FPV systems before the end of the year.

The floating PV group Ciel & Terre® International are steaming ahead on a 70M Wp complex, in a project headed by Chinese RE developers CECEP. The state-owned company called on C&T for their unique experience in the floating PV sector, selecting the European Hydrelio® system for its track-record and signature reliability. With an installed fleet of some 80 plants, C&T has won its second Chinese contract with this tender, as float manufacturers and engineering subcontractors for the complex’s design and installation. “China is emerging as a major market for FPV”, shared Philippe Deschamps, chairman for C&T’s Chinese branch. “We’re proud to be completing this first phase with CECEP ; it’s a pushing-off point for us to capture an important section of the tender and take-on great new opportunities in Asia.”

Construction works began earlier this month, and are scheduled to be completed by Q4 of 2017. The site features several reservoirs where over 194,000 PV modules, divided between 13 floating arrays, will generate 82 GWh in their first year, supplying electricity to some 20,910 homes. All floats for these platforms will be produced locally to optimize transportation costs, minimize the project’s carbon footprint and promote employment in the area.

The 70MWp floating solar farm adds an impressive item to C&T’s well-established worldwide portfolio. “Ciel & Terre® is naturally scaling up. After grid-connecting over 85MWp around the world, this latest project in Anhui perfectly illustrates our ambitions and leadership in the field of floating PV,” stated Eva Pauly-Bowles, the group’s global sales director.

The announcement shortly follows another victory for C&T, whose patented Hydrelio® mounting system won the 2017 Intersolar ‘Photovoltaics’ Award, for its “important contribution to the global energy transition for this niche market.” The European company’s Hydrelio® system has established itself as the front-runner technical concept in floating PV – an industry standard which has seen rapid uptake among key players in solar business.

Teaser: Ciel & Terre®’s latest project developed by Japanese investor KTS (Kyocera TCL Solar LLC.).

Ciel & Terre® has built a strong presence in Asia, since launching the clock for water-based PV in 2013, with the first megawatt-scale solar island in Okegawa, Japan. Asian countries’ dense populations, scarce land, soaring energy demand and countless reservoirs make FPV a highly effective and sought-after solution. Today, C&T has permanent offices in Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia, as well as the US, Brazil, and the UK. As the only official distributor of Hydrelio® FPV solutions in China, Ciel & Terre® has already delivered a first 11 MWp project for GCL (Golden Concord Ltd.).

These developments are the latest examples of China’s firm commitment and progressive position in the field of renewable energies. With this tender dedicated to floating PV technology, a groundbreaking initiative, Chinese authorities are promoting the connection of some 25 GWp in photovoltaic power plants – including ground-mounted, rooftop and floating systems – by 2020.

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