Thailand’s ‘largest’ floating solar project comes online

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The install is colocated with a hydropower plant in the northeast province of Ubon Ratchathani. Image: Sungrow.

A 58.5MW floating PV plant in Thailand, said to be the largest install of its kind in the country, has been connected to the grid, according to inverter and floating solutions supplier Sungrow.

Colocated with a hydropower plant, the solar project spans 121 hectares atop a reservoir in the northeast province of Ubon Ratchathani.

As well as supplying its SG3400HV inverter, Sungrow provided the project’s floating platform, which the company said “guarantees a minimal negative effect on the lake’s flora and fauna”. The installation features glass-glass modules as well as a mooring system made from high-density polyethylene.

Having awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project to a consortium including B.Grimm Power and Energy China in 2020, state-run utility the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) said earlier this year that it expected to begin commercial operation at the facility this October.

EGAT also previously said that it is continuing to develop hydro-floating solar hybrid projects with a total capacity of 2,725MW at its dams across Thailand.

The existing grid connection at hydropower plants combined with available space above large reservoirs means floating solar could be an attractive option for Thailand as it aims to draw 35% of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2037.

Sungrow, which has a notable presence in China’s floating PV sector, said it has previously supplied equipment for a 12.5MW floating solar plant located at an industrial reservoir in Thailand’s Rayong province as well as four floating plants totalling 15MW in the Suphanburi province.

It was suggested in a recent panel discussion that the proven ability to install large-scale floating PV projects in Southeast Asia means financing should be readily available for new installations.

Other notable projects the region will see EDF develop a 240MWp floating solar project in Laos colocated with a 1.08GW hydropower plant, while Sunseap Group has secured a contract to build a 2.2GWp floating project on the Indonesian island of Batam that will have the potential to export some of its output to nearby Singapore via a subsea cable.

Elsewhere, it was revealed yesterday (16 September) that engineering company Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has commissioned what it said is India’s largest floating solar project. With a capacity of 25MW and covering 100 acres, the project has been built at the site of a coal plant in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

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