Ciel & Terre starts building 70MW floating PV project with LONGi mono modules

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Central inverters will be put on stilt platforms on the shoreline of the quarry lake so as not to interfere with neighbouring farm activity. Credit: Ciel & Terre

France-based floating PV specialist Ciel & Terre (C&T) International has commenced construction of a 70MW floating solar plant for Chinese state-owned developer CECEP on a clay quarry lake in Anhui Province, China.

Once compete it could be the world’s largest floating solar plant, but only briefly, because Chinese firm Sungrow is also due to complete a 150MW floating plant in the same region before the end of the year.

C&T’s 70MW project will include monocrystalline modules from Chinese manufacturer LONGi Solar (formerly Lerri Solar), a C&T spokesperson told PV Tech.

Central inverters will be put on stilt platforms on the shoreline of the quarry lake so as not to interfere with neighbouring farm activity. This is different to another already completed 40MW Sungrow plant, which actually houses the central inverters on top of the floating system. These are the first instances ever of central inverters being used on large-scale floaitng plants.

C&T, acting as CECEP’s EPC contractor, float manufacturer and engineering subcontractor, is providing its Hydrelio floating solution as well as designing the floating platforms and anchoring system.

Construction started earlier this month, with 194,000 modules required across 13 floating arrays. The project will generate 82GWh in its first year.

This is C&T’s second floating project in China. The first 11MW system was developed for GCL (Golden Concord Ltd), with construction now complete and grid-connection scheduled for this summer. C&T has grid-connected 85MW of floating PV globally already.

To kickstart the project, China's National Energy Administration (NEA) issued a tender for 1GW of floating PV all in Anhui province, which is one third of forecasted global floating solar capacity for 2020. This capacity is spread across 12 inland reservoir sites, with nine companies being awarded capacity, including CECEP, GCL, 3 Gorges, and Sungrow among others.

The tender contract demands commissioning before the end of the year.

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