World's biggest floating solar power plant starts operating atop former coal mine

China Three Gorges Corp, a developer of hydroelectric, wind, solar, and nuclear energy ventures, announced this week that its 150-megawatt solar power plant located in the eastern province of Anhui was connected to the grid and started generating power.

The floating photovoltaic power station, whose construction began back in July at a cost of $151 million, is set to become fully operational by May 2018. According to the company, this is the world’s biggest plant of its kind. It features panels fixed to floats on the surface of a lake, which formed after a coal mine collapsed.

In a press release, the clean-energy firm said that the station will avoid the use of about 53,000 tonnes of standard coal and reduce emissions by about 199,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is also expected to meet the electricity demand of about 94,000 urban and rural families.

China Three Gorges Chairman, Lu Chun, said in the same media statement that this would be not only the largest but also the "most intelligent solar power project with the most advanced technology in the world."

The release also highlighted that annual tax payment for the PV project will amount to about $3.77 million per year, which would benefit local governments from a financial point of view but also from an ecological perspective. “[It would] change the ‘subsidence area’ of coal mining from ‘burden’ to ‘fortune,’ from ‘underground’ to ‘above the ground’ and change the development approach from ‘black’ to ‘green’.”