Solar panels can be converted into quite large floating power plants.
Solar panels can be converted into quite large floating power plants. U.S. Navy/Public Domain

On the same day that President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be exiting the Paris Climate Accord, there is at least one ray of environmental sunshine. The world’s largest floating solar energy farm (for now) has officially been fired up in China.

Located in Huainan, China, the massive new array of solar panels floats over what was once mining land. In the past this region was powered by coal mined in the area, but those mines eventually collapsed and over time, filled with rainwater. The resulting lake was left largely unused, until now.

Floating on waters that are up to 10 meters deep in some places, the modularly designed farm consists of six sprawling flotillas, all connected to converter boxes that turn their intake into usable energy. The whole setup is specially designed to resist the salt and humidity that comes from being on the water, while evaporative breezes from the water’s surface help keep the panels cool, reducing the chances of a failure. The floating solar energy farm also provides power without using up valuable land or damaging the ecosystem.

Now that it has finally been turned on, the farm will be able to put out 40 megawatts of power. As Curbed notes, the world’s largest wind turbine, located in Denmark, can only pump out around 9 megawatts. A previous claimant to the title of world’s largest floating solar farm, a facility that went live in 2016 in London, was only capable of producing a little over 6 megawatts.