- China flipped the switch on its first floating solar plant in 2017
- The plant floats on top of a lake that was once, notably, home to a coal mine
- China now plans to build a floating solar power plant in space
China has built a number of floating solar power plants that have played a substantial role in China’s war on pollution. Chinese cities have decreased harmful air pollution by 32% over the past four years, in part thanks to these solar farms. This improvement is set to continue.
The first floating solar power plant, built by Chinese company Sungrow Power Supply, is located in Anhui province. The farm produces 40 megawatts of power – enough to light around 15 000 houses. A second plant was opened in Anhui by Chinese company Three Gorges, in 2018. It produces 150 megawatts of power and reaches 94 000 homes.
The next planned solar farm will float not in water, but in space. Chinese media reported that China’s Academy of Space Technology has been working on a solar power plant that will orbit the earth at 36 000km and then transmit this solar energy back to earth. It will allow solar energy to be tapped without weather interference and seasonal changes. However, it will still take some time to figure out how to efficiently transmit that energy back home.
It is reported that energy from these solar plants has the capacity to supply energy at six-times that of solar farms on earth. They should also be able to charge electric cars at any time and place. The first test facility is expected to be launched in 2025. If successful, it will be a huge stride in China’s efforts to curb its reliance on fossil fuels.
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