World’s largest Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project has begun commercial operation at Sirindhorn Dam in Thailand. According to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), this mega project will enhance the country’s power system security.
Mr. Boonyanit Wongrukmit, EGAT’s Governor revealed that the Hybrid Project has begun commercial operation on October 31, 2021.
In this Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project, solar cells have been installed on the surface of the water of EGAT dams. As a result, when solar energy is available, electricity is generated from solar panels. But in the absence of the sunlight, hydro-power of the dam can also be combined for electricity generation.
Following are some of its features:
- The Project has seven sets of solar panels installed on the water surface of less than 1% of the entire reservoir.
- Over 144,000 floating solar panels are installed on about 120 hectares of water in a reservoir.
- This 45-MW Project will enhance the country’s power system security.
- The project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions of around 47,000 tons/year.
- During the daytime, 145,000 solar panels generate from the sun, however, at night three turbines generate energy from flowing water.
- The solar panels are placed in a way that there is a space between the panel and platform. As a result, sunlight could easily pass through into the water. Thus these panels are also eco-friendly and there is no damage to the underwater ecosystem.
- As the solar panels are placed on water, it helps in reducing the panels’ heat. This makes these panels 10-15% more efficient than solar panels installed on land.
- The placement of solar panels also helps in reducing water evaporation in the dam by about 460,000 cubic meters annually.