Cirata Floating Solar Plant: Another Successful Case, Paving the Way for FPV

Recently, Indonesian President announced the official full-capacity grid connection of the Cirata Floating Solar Power Plant, triggering significant attention within the industry. Located in the reservoir of the Cirata hydropower station in West Java Province, the plant has a total capacity of 192MWp, with plans for future expansion to 500MW. This marks the first floating solar project in waters deeper than a hundred meters and stands as the largest in Southeast Asia and the third-largest in the world. The station is expected to generate 300,000 MWh annually, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 214,000 tons and providing clean electricity to around 50,000 households. The success of this large-scale plant once again highlights the feasibility of floating photovoltaic systems. So, what is it and why does it become popular? Let’s dive into it.

What is a Floating Photovoltaic System?

A floating photovoltaic system (FPV) is a technology that involves installing solar panels on floating platforms like reservoirs to harness solar energy for electricity generation. This technology integrates marine and renewable energy techniques, utilizing solar panels that are dust-resistant, lead-free, highly resistant to moisture, and waterproof. Floating photovoltaic systems share many similarities with ground-based ones, with the main distinction being their installation on water surfaces, eliminating the need for land. Even in countries with vast and resource-rich lands, areas near major energy-consuming cities and industrial zones may lack available land for building solar plants or face high costs. In such cases, floating photovoltaic systems become an attractive solution, as they are not constrained by land availability.

What is the Potential of Floating Photovoltaic Systems?

Researchers have collected information from three global reservoir databases, totaling over 13.11 million reservoirs. Based on climate-driven photovoltaic performance simulation models, regions with the highest FPV potential are concentrated in parts of the United States, eastern Brazil, Portugal, Spain, northern South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, and eastern China. Among these, the United States has the greatest potential, although floating photovoltaic technology is not yet widely adopted. In contrast, countries with small land areas, such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, show stronger interest in floating photovoltaic systems. Japan, in particular, has established the world’s first floating photovoltaic power plant as early as 2007 and remains the leading adopter of this technology. China has over 15,000 reservoirs with the potential for floating photovoltaic development, ranking second globally and capable of producing one trillion kilowatt-hours annually.

What are the Advantages of Floating Photovoltaic Systems?

Land Resource Savings: Compared to traditional photovoltaic power systems that occupy large land areas, floating photovoltaic systems can make full use of water bodies, installing them in unused water areas such as lakes, reservoirs, or ponds. This reduces land occupation and preserves the ecological systems of water bodies. Additionally, constructing on artificial water bodies brings advantages in easy integration with existing power plants, promoting simplicity and synergies.

Improved Generation Efficiency: While solar panels perform well even at high temperatures, lower temperatures enhance their performance. Water provides cooling for the panels on the water surface, improving their efficiency. Research indicates that the generation efficiency of floating solar panels is 11% higher than that of land-based ones. Additionally, the reflection on the water surface can further enhance the efficiency, effectively converting solar energy into electricity.

Environmental Protection: By blocking sunlight from reaching the water surface, floating solar panels reduce the evaporation of lakes and reservoirs. Estimates suggest that covering 30% of global reservoirs with solar panels could annually save water resources to serve 300 million people. Installing floating solar panels on hydropower stations increases the water available for hydropower generation, and industrial lakes achieve water savings for agricultural use. The shadows cast by solar panels also reduce the extensive growth of algae in freshwater bodies, avoiding health issues from drinking water sources and preventing the death of other aquatic plants and animals.

Reduced Carbon Emissions: Harnessing clean energy from floating solar panels helps reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based electricity generation, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, while hydropower is renewable, the operation of hydropower stations can generate significant carbon emissions. Utilizing floating solar panels on idle areas enables dual-generation, offsetting the carbon emissions from station operation.

Economic Development Boost: Beyond supplying electricity for life and work to promote economic development, some countries have developed the tourism potential of floating photovoltaic systems, further enhancing their values. Trails can be constructed alongside dams, allowing visitors to walk along the water’s edge and enjoy the array of solar panels and the natural scenery of the lake.

PVB Solutions: Optimal for Stable System Operation

The environment in which floating photovoltaic systems operate presents significant challenges in construction and operation. Factors such as high humidity, waves, wind forces, corrosiveness, and high maintenance difficulty arising from aquatic environments need careful consideration during plant planning. As a leading photovoltaic component manufacturer, PVB is well aware of these factors and offers a range of direct current (DC) transmission and distribution solutions perfectly tailored to system design and requirements. Its products include, but are not limited to:

DC Circuit Breakers: PVB provides customers with various DC circuit breaker solutions, including molded case circuit breakers, miniature circuit breakers, and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) circuit breakers suitable for different application scenarios. These circuit breakers offer overload, short-circuit, and anti-backflow protection functions, along with arc flash barriers, enhancing the safety and stability of photovoltaic systems.

DC Isolator Switches: These switches are high-performance electrical equipment designed for photovoltaic and energy storage systems. With a modular design, they cover rated voltages from DC300V to DC1600V and rated currents from 8A to 800A. Using patented DC arc-extinguishing technology, they can extinguish arcs in as little as 3ms and come with a lockable handle to prevent accidental operation.

Surge Protection Devices: PVB offers both DC and alternating current (AC) surge protectors, providing T1, T1+T2, and T2-class protection for systems. Equipped with a thermal disconnect device with a fault indicator, they also come with optional remote signal contacts. In the event of a surge voltage, these protectors can provide a nanosecond-level rapid response to maintain system stability.

Rapid Shutdown Devices: Both BFS-21 and BFS-22 can control individual or multiple modules, reducing equipment costs and enhancing the flexibility of system design. In case of a system failure, PVB’s RSDs can quickly reduce voltage to a safe level in microseconds. Using Power Line Communication (PLC) technology, they rapidly transmit abnormal signals during emergencies or maintenance operations. Moreover, they have proactive measures, such as automatic module-level shutdown in cases of overheating or AC power failure, effectively preventing system overheating and reducing the risk of damage or failure.

All PVB products conform to international quality standards and have obtained industry certifications such as UL, REC, TÜV Rheinland, AS, CE, CB, RoHS, etc. They also feature high protection levels, using UV-resistant and flame-retardant materials, and have undergone extreme environmental testing from -40°C to +85°C, suitable for harsh environments like floating photovoltaic systems. These products provide a reliable guarantee for the stable and secure operation of photovoltaic systems.

Note: Details may vary depending on the product and model. Please refer to the specific product manual for more information.

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2715 Ash Dr. San Jose, South Dakota 83475 Yes, we ship all over the world. Shipping costs will apply, and will be added at checkout. We run discounts and promotions all year, so stay tuned for exclusive deals.

2715 Ash Dr. San Jose, South Dakota 83475 Yes, we ship all over the world. Shipping costs will apply, and will be added at checkout. We run discounts and promotions all year, so stay tuned for exclusive deals.

2715 Ash Dr. San Jose, South Dakota 83475 Yes, we ship all over the world. Shipping costs will apply, and will be added at checkout. We run discounts and promotions all year, so stay tuned for exclusive deals.

2715 Ash Dr. San Jose, South Dakota 83475 Yes, we ship all over the world. Shipping costs will apply, and will be added at checkout. We run discounts and promotions all year, so stay tuned for exclusive deals.

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