An operational floating PV plant in China. Image: Sungrow Floating.
EDF has secured a contract to lead the development of a 240MWp floating solar project in Laos that will be co-located with a 1.08GW hydropower plant.
According to the firm that operates the hydro facility, the Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC), the installation will be the world’s largest hybrid floating solar project when it is complete.
Set to be deployed on the reservoir of the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in Khammouane province, the project will cover 3.2 square kilometres, less than 1% of the reservoir’s surface area at full supply level.
EDF signed an agreement with the government of Laos to develop the plant, which will be co-developed by state-owned Lao Holding State Enterprise as well as Thailand’s Electricity Generating Public Company.
Following an EPC bidding process that is anticipated to take place in early 2022, construction will begin later that year, with completion expected by 2024.
NTPC highlighted the hybrid installation’s potential to save water: when the sun is shining, hydro generation will fall and less water will be used. As much as 73% of the solar generation could be used just to save water, Matthieu Bommier, who works for the shareholders of NTPC, told PV Tech.
According to Jean-Philippe Buisson, vice-president Asia at EDF, the solar project will have no major environmental or social impact, with the water saver concept, which turns solar into additional and stable hydroelectricity, allowing for the generation of renewable electricity in a more reliable manner.