Clean Power sunflower_image_2_(2)

Published on December 21st, 2014 | by Cynthia Shahan


Sunflower Floating Solar Power Plant In Korea

December 21st, 2014 by  

South Korean PV module manufacturer SolarPark Korea has supplied modules to the first floating solar PV power plant in the country, the prototype Sunflower Solar Power Plant, which uses a tracking and rotating system. According to SolarPark Korea, the tracking system rotates the PV plant so that the modules face the most sun throughout the day. As the facility floats on water, it does not take much energy to do this, just a small amount of power being used from the plant for the rotation of the entire system.



It is a 465 kWp system and around 8,000 square meters in size. SolarPark Korea supplied 1,550 72-cell multicrystalline modules for the test project. The cooling effect of the water on the modules should prove to show an additional 10% increase in energy production — when compared to a ground-mounted system.

Such floating PV power plants do other things as well. They reduce algae growth, for example. Additionally, they have the ability to merge as hatcheries for fish inhabiting the area. Due to the easy rotation and the resulting exposure to maximum sunlight, the Sunflower Solar Power Plant’s production efficiency is 22% higher than a comparable ground-mounted PV plant.
Interest in floating power plants is increasing in this country due to the South Korean government’s existing REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) being 1.5 times higher for floating solar power plants than conventional ones on land. The Korea Rural Community Corporation plans to use 5% of the country’s water surface for the installation of floating solar power plants, for a total of 4 gigawatts worth of floating solar PV power plants.

Floating PV plants have the key benefits noted above, but perhaps more importantly, they are a solution to the lack of land found in some places. In smaller island countries like Japan, they increase environmental solutions. Anand Upadhyay, reporting for CleanTechnica recently, noted that in wake of the Fukushima accident, Japan has installed renewable energy on a large scale. Recently, the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced that over 11 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity were added over the past two years. But the country is also now piloting floating solar PV power plantsSingapore has also opted for floating solar power systems. And plenty others are also jumping into this realm.

Related Stories:

Kyocera To Develop Japan’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant

India Plans World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Project (50 MW)

UK Gets Its First Floating Solar Farm

Image Credit: SolarPark Korea

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About the Author

is an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • Steve A-Reno

    OK- what about the obvious? What happens in big storms? I would think the first big storm would destroy these solar panels. I hope they have a good insurance policy.

    • jeff white

      most small korean lakes are nestled between short steep korean mountains, so maybe the thing to worry about is pine-nut tree cones flying 500meters into the middle of it… than and hail.

  • birdonawire

    What happens when the water freezes?

    • Ronald Brakels

      I don’t think a sizeable body of water would get cold enough to freeze there. But the effects of ice and snow would need to be accounted for. I presume the warmth of the water itself will help keep snow and ice off it.

      • jeff white

        it may freeze… it is cold here.

        • Ronald Brakels

          There is a lot of thermal mass in water reservoir of that size and the ground normally doesn’t get that cold in Korea. Oh sure, it’s cold enough to kill you, but not enough to freeze over a good size lake. Go outside right now and stand in the middle of the road and look down. If you survive this experience, did you see the little sprinklers built into the road surface they use to keep ice and snow off the road in winter? Those things are only installed where the ground temperature is high enough during the winter to keep the pipes from bursting, so probably no frozen lakes.

  • Ronald Brakels

    Before someone jumps in and says it would have been better to put the solar capacity on rooftops I’ll just jump in and say it would have been better to put the solar capacity on rooftops. But compared to spending the money on a statue of Yonggary the Korean Godzilla from 1967, or a small fraction of a fighter plane, or an animatronic Justin Bieber, or coal, this is a darn fine option.

    • jeffhre

      Darn fine, LOL, and thank you for the relative comparisons.

      • jeff white

        as opposed to non-relative comparisons… of which there are… eek. blue screen.

  • MarTams

    There are solar cells today in solar fountains that are designed to be wetted by water. No need to wash off any collected dust.

  • Shane 2

    Would be okay on water bodies with little swell.

    • JamesWimberley

      SFIK all the projects are on lakes. Judging by the continued problems of ocean wave power with corrosion and reliability, floating solar farms at sea are a long way off. But they are still tempting, given the relative areas available.

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