Thailand to get world’s largest hydro-floating solar project
A Thai-Chinese consortium has signed an EPC contract to build the world’s largest hydro-floating solar hybrid project for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
The consortium was the selected bidder with a deal worth over THB842 million. It will construct and install a 45-MW solar power plant on water surface combining with the existing hydropower of EGAT.
Implementing this project is an important eco-friendly energy scheme that will encourage and strengthen Thailand’s security of power supply.
It was noted that the project creates synergy between solar and hydropower, representing an important step in the development of green energy in Thailand and resolve an uncertain electricity supply from renewable energy.
This project’s development is consistent with the government’s policy to support electricity production from renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation according to the current Power Development Plan of Thailand (PDP2018).
The hybrid hydro-floating solar for Sirindhorn Dam and the solar power plant generate power from sunlight during the day, along with output control by the Energy Management System (EMS), allow continuous generation of electricity which will enhance the reliability of the country’s overall power supply.
In the future, an energy storage system would potentially be applied with the project to increase reliability for renewable energy production.
The solar panels selected for the project are crystalline double glass module which is suitable for being installed on the surface of water. The solar panels, inverters and cables will be installed on HDPE plastic floating platform, with UV resistance ability.
It is eco-friendly, not dangerous to the environment and aquatic animals. The project will be installed on a surface area of 450 rai with a low-cost of investment by sharing facilities with the existing transmission system, transformers, and high-voltage substations etc.
The project is expected to be completed within 12 months from now and commercial operation date (COD) was set in December 2020.
The Chairman of the Thai multinational conglomerate said that entering into this contract marks another milestone for BGRIM to demonstrate its potential in engaging all dimensions of energy development.
He noted that the hydro-floating solar hybrid project at Sirindhorn Dam is regarded as a major step in the development of renewable energy in Thailand.
It also enables the conglomerate to increase the potential and standards in the development of robust renewable energy businesses and serving the government’s policies.
Its participation in this project will open up opportunities for other floating solar projects.
In partnership with its global partner, one of the world’s largest comprehensive energy solutions providers and a major state owned-conglomerate of the People Republic of China with high potential and cost-effective advantages in procurement, allows for the highest standard of engineering and of construction.
The partners are confident that the project will achieve COD with international benchmarks.
In March 2019, OpenGov Asia reported that the largest and oldest cement and building material company in Thailand and Southeast Asia was working on a similar project.
The company aims to install a giant 45-megawatt floating solar farm at the Sirindhorn Dam — the first of eight dams that may receive the treatment.
In 2019, Thailand generated roughly 12 percent of its energy from sustainable sources. Thailand’s government hopes that initiatives, such as its floating solar plants, can help increase this to 37 percent by 2036.
The goal is that, in the near future, around 6 percent of the country’s total power could come from floating solar farm projects such as these.
PV Tech revealed in November 2018 that EGAT was planning to facilitate 1GW of hybrid floating solar-hydro projects across eight dams throughout Thailand. This was later increased to 16 solar farms with a combined capacity of more than 2.7GW in nine of its hydroelectric dam reservoirs by 2037.
A second 24MWac project at Ubol Ratana Dam is due to come into commercial operation in 2023. Separately EGAT is also continuing to increase deployment of pumped-storage hydropower plants. Its latest was a 1GW installation at the Lamtakong Jolabha Vadhana Power Plant, which is also the only underground power plant in Thailand.
Last week, Abu Dhabi firm Masdar and Indonesian utility PLN announced plans for a 145MW floating project in West Java, Indonesia. This would be the country’s first such project and a further indication that Southeast Asia, which lacks suitable land for large-scale solar compared to other geographies, is likely to become a floating solar hotspot. Indeed, the Asian Development Bank is also set to oversee tenders for up to 400MW of floating solar in Vietnam this year.
India has also issued a small floating PV and storage tender in North Andaman last week.
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