Ciel & Terre starts construction on the world’s largest floating PV plant


French floating PV specialist Ciel et Terre International announced it has started construction on a 70 MW floating solar plant in China’s Anhui province for China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP), a top state-owned energy conglomerate and a renewable energy project developer in China.

The French integrator said it expects to complete construction of the installation by the fourth quarter of 2017. The company also said the site features several reservoirs and that the plant will utilize over 194,000 PV modules, divided between 13 floating arrays.

All floats for these platforms, the company added, will be produced locally to optimize transportation costs, minimize the project’s carbon footprint and promote employment in the area. The solar facility will rely on Ciel & Terre’s Hydrelio technology.

Ciel & Terre said this is the second large-scale solar project it was awarded in the frame of the tender for 1 GW of floating solar power that China’s National Energy Agency (NEA) issued in 2016. The tender is aimed at building energy infrastructure in areas where intensive coal-mining operations have left vast, open-air reservoirs through a combination of land subsidence and flooding.

“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,”said Eva Pauly-Bowles, the group’s global sales director.

Once completed, CECEP’s 70 MW plant will be the world’s largest floating PV plant. Currently, the largest plant of this kind is also located in China. It is a 40 MW installation built in a flooded coal-mining region of Huainan, China. The facility floats atop a lake that formed in this coal-rich area as a result of gradual subsidence and floods caused by heavy rains.

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