Korean group to deploy 200 MW of floating PV at Saemangeum tidal flats


SK Group, South Korea's third-largest conglomerate, plans to build a 200 MW floating solar plant as part of the 2.1 GW floating solar complex the South Korean government is developing near the Saemangeum tidal flats, on the coast of the Yellow Sea.

The Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency (SDIA) said the group's renewable energy unit, SK E&S, was selected as a preferred bidder to build the project.

The facility will be built under the Investment Promotion Solar Farm Project scheme, which ensures the rights to build a 200 MW floating plant. However, the developer must invest more than KRW 600 billion ($515 million) in a startup cluster for high-tech venture companies and data centers for global information and communications tech companies.

“The Investment Promotion Solar Farm Project strategically aims to attract high-tech companies and promote development of Saemangeum (by) utilizing Saemangeum’s vast land and abundant sunshine condition as a pump priming incentive,” the SDIA said.

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SK Group will invest around KRW 2 trillion in the 200 MW array and associated projects. “SDIA is going to sign business agreement and complete business operator designation through negotiating with SK Consortium by November,” the agency said.

The 2.1 GW Saemangeum project will be 14 times larger than the current floating solar record holder, a 150 MW plant that is now being built in Huainan, in China’s Anhui province. The Korean government unveiled the KRW4.6 trillion project last July and it overcame its first hurdle four months later, when the South Korean Ministry of Defense confirmed that the huge plant would not affect flight operations at a nearby U.S. armed forces base.

The government recently announced new rules to prioritize solar energy projects built with low-carbon-footprint modules. The regulations are expected to favor domestic solar cell and panel manufacturers.

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