South Korean solar power developer Solkiss plans to build a series of floating plants across the country, in response to new President Moon Jae-in’s election promise to increase renewable energy generation.
Solkiss is building what it says will be the world’s biggest floating photovoltaic (PV) plant with rotating panels, at a site in Hwaseong. The plant on the Deoku Reservoir will have a capacity of 2.67 MW, national news agency Yonhap reported.
The energy efficiency of a rotating solar power facility is 22% higher than conventional solar facilities fixed on land and 16% higher than those on water, Solkiss said.
Two other floating plants are planned by Solkiss for completion before the end of the year with a combined 3 MW, Yonhap quoted the company saying.
The company inaugurated South Korea’s first floating PV plant in 2014, a 465-kW facility on a reservoir in Gyeonggi-do. It is also in discussion with nearby Vietnam regarding the creation of a floating plant of up to 500 MW at Thac Bha Lake. The US$1.1 billion project would require significant financial assistance from the Korean government.
However, much greater capacity will be needed at home if Moon is to carry out his policy of closing all nuclear power plants and some coal plants. 70% of South Korea’s overall installed capacity of 110,000 MW is made up of coal and nuclear plants. Moon has promised to significantly raise renewable energy above its current 2% share of generation – the lowest among the 35 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The new President was elected on a promise to tackle the country’s severe urban air pollution and national anxiety about nuclear energy in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima accident. South Korea has 23 nuclear plants, some of which are more than 20 years old.
Under a new energy policy, Moon’s target is to increase renewable resources to 20% of South Korea’s total generating capacity by 2035, shoring up much of the rest with LNG-fired thermal power plants (TPPs).
“A Solkiss official said the company plans to push ahead with a project to expand the movable power stations on water throughout the country, expressing hope that the project will be in line with the government’s commitment to steer the country away from its dependence on nuclear and coal power,” Yonhap reported.
Meanwhile another Korean company, LS Industrial Systems, said it is developing energy storage batteries for solar plants with an eye on future renewable energy developments, the Herald.