The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has almost completed a huge solar and hydropower project, also known as the Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project.
The pilot project is at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani Province and has a capacity of 45 MW. The project is considered to be the largest Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid in the world. Chatchai Mawong, EGAT’s director for hydro and renewable energy power plant development, said construction is now 82% complete and is expected to be operational in June this year.
The Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project combines hydropower from EGAT’s dams, which can generate a limited amount of power in some seasons, and solar power. When there is enough water, the dam can generate power to meet the system’s peak demand, but when there is a limited amount of water, the solar cells can generate power from sunlight during the day and use hydropower to support high power demand during nighttime. It can generate power continuously to support the system’s power demand. Other than increasing the security of the power system, it also helps manage water efficiently.
The highlights of the project are
1) Low cost due to the use of EGAT’s original power system, such as the transmission system and the use of space for maximum benefit
2) Increasing power system security, reducing unstableness of renewable energy with Integrated Renewable Firm Power System and Energy Storage, and using Energy Management System (EMS) to control the power distribution
3) No impact on society, community, and environment by installing an HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) floating device made from the same material as water pipes, which is not dangerous to the environment and aquatic animals, and is installed on the water surface of EGAT’s dams; therefore, it does not affect the agriculture area and the community’s boating activities.
EGAT will continue to implement Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Projects at other EGAT dams.
Solar farms help reduce waste of land.
They reduce evaporation since they are partially covering the water surface.
The project helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,143 tons per year.
They are easy to install and decommission.
A solar panel installation takes up to less than 1% of the total area of each dam’s reservoir.
Solar floating farm systems are about 18% more expensive than land-based ones because of the need for floats and more resilient electrical components.