Contract signed to build world’s largest floating solar plant

Thailand’s electricity agency signed a contract with B.Grimm corporation last week to begin building the world’s largest dual-source power plant where solar panels float on a reservoir also used to generate hydropower.

The solar power component of the project at the Sirindhorn Dam in northeastern Ubon Ratchathani province would produce 45 megawatts of electricity. But that is just the beginning. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand plans to build 16 floating solar farms with a combined capacity of more than 2.7 gigawatts in nine of its hydroelectric dam reservoirs by 2037. The hydro-solar plants are referred to as hybrid power plants.

“The plan represents an ambitious bet for Thailand on floating solar,” the Renewable Energy World website wrote. “Locating the plants at existing hydropower reservoirs means the utility won’t need to spend as much on infrastructure, tying it into the grid, and the system will improve the overall output of the hydropower plants.”

B.Grimm, a Thai multinational conglomerate founded by German and Austrian partners in 1878, has formed a power consortium with Chinese partners. B.Grimm operates power plants in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam.

“Eight of EGAT’s 16 planned floating plants would be larger than what is now the world’s biggest, a 150-megawatt system floating above a collapsed coal mine in China. Thailand’s biggest will be the 325-MW farm at Sirikit Dam in northern Thailand, scheduled to be completed in 2035,” Renewable Energy World reported.

Thailand is already the largest producer of solar and wind power in Southeast Asia. The government has set a goal of producing 35 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2037.

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