World’s Biggest Floating Solar Power Farms Planned In Thailand
Mar 11, 2019

Thailand plans to build the world’s largest floating solar farms to boost the country’s share of clean energy, Bloomberg News cited Thepparat Theppitak, a deputy governor of state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

He said EGAT will float 16 solar farms with a combined capacity of more than 2.7 gigawatts on nine of its hydroelectric dam reservoirs by 2037. Several of the proposed projects are more than double the size of the world’s largest floating system now and the venture dwarfs the 1.3 gigawatts of generation from such farms currently installed globally.

The plan represents an ambitious bet for Thailand on floating solar, which tends to be more expensive than the ground-mounted units that dominate the sector. If EGAT builds all its proposed projects, the company says floating solar will account for ten per cent of the country’s clean energy sources.

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, Thepparat noted. In the future, the company will also use lithium-ion batteries to store electricity produced by the floating plants.

The bidding for the first floating solar project will begin in May this year and will be open to international companies, with the budget set at two billion baht ($63 million) for a 45 megawatt farm at Sirindhorn Dam in northeast Thailand. That plant is expected to come online next year.

Half 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 a 325-megawatt farm at Sirikit Dam in northern Thailand, scheduled to be completed in 2035.