A Chinese renewables firm has installed a massive solar plant above a fishery in Cangzhou, Heibei Province. The development comes during a period where numerous farmers worldwide are scrambling to incorporate green solar and wind infrastructure into their businesses.
Concord New Energy, a renewables company that specialises in solar and wind installations, constructed a 70 megawatt photovoltaic plant directly above a pond in Cangzhou’s industrial hub.
An article by PV Magazine describes the 70 megawatt installation as a hybrid system that generates clean solar energy during the fishery’s day-to-day operations, while simultaneously freeing up a substantial amount of space to be utilised for other projects.
The move is part of a growing trend in China as industries, including agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing, are optimising their facility space. These often occupy large swathes of open land or water.
The Cangzhou fish and solar hybrid project involved the installation of 670 watt Vertex solar panels directly above the pond, about a metre above the water’s surface. Each panel is secured by a pillar sunk between six and seven metres below the water level, for maximum foundational strength.
While most solar panels are designed to cope with water relatively well, the photovoltaic modules, supplied by Trina Solar, were specially created with water-resistant materials.
These materials protect integral metallic components, such as soldering strips or busbars, from failing due to prolonged water exposure while also lowering potential induced degradation (PID), a phenomenon that causes most solar panels to become less effective over time.
The aquatic creatures that call the pond home benefit too. The shade provided by the solar modules cools the pond substantially and protects the fish from the harsh Heibei summers where the mercury often rises above 30 degrees Celsius. The blanket of panels also prevents evaporation, lowering maintenance costs and saving water as a result.
Limiting the amount of direct sunlight the pond is exposed to decreases the risk of algae outbreaks and improves general water quality, as per a report published by solar components manufacturer, SRNE Solar.
Solar panels fixed over water instead of soil or concrete also keep critical components from overheating and improve efficiency by 15%, according to a 2021 Environmental and Energy Study Institute report.
The construction of the 70 megawatt solar network concluded in June this year. The pond would be home to fish and shrimp stock, said a spokesperson for the project.