China is building a 150MW floating solar farm to power 94,000 homes on top of an old coal mine, heralding in a new age of investment for renewable energy.
The state-run energy company China Three Gorges New Energy Co. is building a 150MW floating solar farm that sits on top of a lake formed from a collapsed coal mine in the eastern Chinese city of Huainan.
Construction of the $151 million facility started in July and is already partially connected to the grid. The whole plant is expected to switch on by May 2018, and can power 94,000 homes at full capacity.
The project takes the "world's largest" crown from China's other floating solar farm in the same city of Huainan; the 40MW farm by Sungrow Power Supply Co. that also sits on top of a former coal mine.
These projects not only repurpose out-of-use coal mines, but also help China move away from coal, the most polluting fossil fuel. Furthermore, as the World Economic Forum noted, floating solar panels are more effective because water cools them down.
China, the largest producer and consumer of coal, has significantly ramped up its investment in renewable energy. It not only has more solar capacity than any other country in the world, but also intends to invest more than $361 billion in renewables by 2020.