The Chinese province of Anhui built a massive floating solar farm.
China's latest energy mega project — a giant floating solar farm on top of a former coal mine in Anhui — may get the country closer to that goal.
In 2017, workers turned on the 166,000-panel array, which can generate 40 megawatts of power — enough to accommodate 15,000 homes, according to the South China Morning Post. It's currently the wo
rld's largest floating solar project and will operate for up to 25 years.
Local energy company Sungrow Power Supply developed the farm on a lake that was once the site of extensive coal mining. After an explosion caused the mine to collapse, a lake formed and flooded it. As The Guardian notes, building solar plants on top of lakes and reservoirs can protect agricultural land and wildlife on the ground. The water also cools the solar panels, helping them work more efficiently.
In December, a unit of China Three Gorges Corp. started building an even larger floating solar farm, which is expected to come online by May 2018. Also in Anhui, this $151 million plant will produce up to 150 megawatts of power for approximately 94,000 homes.
Choosing to develop the Sungrow farm on an abandoned coal mine signals the slow decline of fossil fuels like coal in China and other countries around the world.
To improve the country's air quality, the Chinese government vows to spend at least $360 billion on clean energy projects and create 13 million new renewable energy jobs by 2020. China is already one of the world's biggest investor in alternative energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower.
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