BUSINESS

World’s largest floating solar plant starts work

By Chung Joo-won
  • Published : Jul 31, 2012 - 20:25
  • Updated : Jul 31, 2012 - 20:25
The world’s largest solar plant on water went into operation on Tuesday, paving the way for the commercialization of a new solar energy provider, said Korea Water Resources Corp., or K-water.

The state-run water service company organized the three-year project in August 2008, and Korean industrial solutions firm LSIS undertook the plant construction in 2011 on Hapcheon Dam in Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang Province.

“K-water plans to form partnerships with private firms for the standardization and optimization of the field by continuous investment in addition to making inroads to the global energy market,” said Han Ho-yeon, director of K-water green energy and resources department.

The floating solar power plant is capable of providing about 500 kilowatts of electricity, an amount sufficient to accommodate about 140 four-member families for a year, K-water said.

K-water also revealed its plan to gradually increase the number of solar energy plants by building them on 30 more dams nationwide by 2022.

If completed, these plants altogether will be able to produce 1,800 kilowatts of electricity, an amount equal to the energy consumption of 2.2 million people per year.

Under the brand name “SOLATUS” ― a combination of “solar” and “lotus” which symbolize green energy ― the new plant in Hapcheon is the world’s first demonstration of commercializing an on-water solar energy plant, K-water said to the press.

Compared to solar energy plants on land, a solar plant constructed over water can generate about 10 percent more electricity and is less destructive to the hydro-ecology of the environment.

In particular, the plant buoyed above water blocks sunlight, preventing the excessive outbreak of algae within the dam and provides better a hatching environment for sea life.

The water company said that it used only environment-friendly materials, including aluminum, which do not taint the water quality in the floating solar plant’s construction.

Over 200 government and business officials gathered at the opening ceremony held in Hapcheon.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)