China Created A New Floating Photovoltaic System

China Created A New Floating Photovoltaic System

China Created A New Floating Photovoltaic System

Ningxia created a China photovoltaic "Blue Ocean" electric power network by local conditions. That was a new floating photovoltaic system.

Through real-time drone imagery, over 3.7 million photovoltaic panels are arranged and connected on the vast wasteland of Majiatan in Lingwu City, Ningxia. Along the terrain, they converge into a "blue ocean", shimmering in the scorching afternoon sun. 

Ma Jianbao, the technical research specialist of State Energy Ningxia Electric Power New Energy Branch, at the Ningxia Regional New Energy Control Center of State Energy Group, lightly clicked the mouse to have a clear view of the operation of each photovoltaic area. With infrared cameras scanning at low altitudes, the health status of floating photovoltaic systems is clear at a glance.

This is the Guoneng Ningdong 2 million kilowatt composite photovoltaic base, and Ma Jianbao is leading a team to conduct daily drone intelligent inspections for photovoltaic panels. "Drones patrol along designated routes, transmit real-time images of the base. It can automatically generate a 'medical examination report' in just 30 minutes. The accuracy of fault identification is as high as 90%, and the inspection efficiency has been improved seven or eight times,"said Ma Jianbao.

As a top priority for the development of new energy in China during the 14th Five Year Plan period, the construction of large-scale wind and photovoltaic bases with a focus on deserts, Gobi, and desert areas continues to advance. Ningxia, located in the northwest, has the advantages of small geographical area, abundant wind and solar power, strong power grid, and stable transmission. It is an important base for China's "West East Power Transmission" and has delivered electricity to more than 10 provinces, including Shandong and Zhejiang. The Guoneng Ningdong 2 million kilowatt composite photovoltaic base within its territory is one of the first 100 million kilowatt large-scale wind and photovoltaic base projects in China.

Lingwu City is rich in coal resources, leaving behind many coal mining areas over the years. It is understood that the photovoltaic base covers an area of nearly 60,000 acres, utilizing the land resources of abandoned mountains and slopes in the mining subsidence area and waiting area of the mining area. It is built according to local conditions and will be fully connected to the grid in June 2023. In order to solve the operational, monitoring, and governance difficulties caused by the wide geographical area and complex geological subsidence of the "Shagehuang" project, the base has built an intelligent control integrated platform, developed advanced technology equipment such as intelligent cleaning, inspection, and geological subsidence monitoring and early warning, and promoted the intelligent and digital development of the new energy photovoltaic industry.

"This large power station used to require over 150 people for safe operation and maintenance, but now only a dozen or so people are available," Ma Jianbao said. With seven drones working simultaneously, it only takes three weeks to complete a base inspection.

Entering the photovoltaic base, an unmanned intelligent cleaning robot is working. Wherever the two meter long brush passes, the photovoltaic panels shine brightly. Zhang Lei, Deputy Station Manager of Ningdong Photovoltaic Power Station at Guoneng Ningxia Power New Energy Branch, introduced that Ningxia is surrounded by sand on three sides, and the sand and dust caused by strong winds often fall on the photovoltaic panels, affecting power generation efficiency. The robot jointly developed by the company uses unmanned driving technology to automatically clean photovoltaic panels.   When it completes a predetermined task or when the battery is about to run out, it will automatically return to charge, greatly reducing light loss.

"We rely on big data, cloud computing, 5G+, and other technologies to achieve intelligent operation and maintenance of photovoltaic power stations with a capacity of one million kilowatts, and create new productive forces in the photovoltaic industry according to local conditions." Zhang Lei said that the power station adopts a "photovoltaic+ecological" model for construction, and through "on board power generation, inter board planting, and under board restoration", effectively repairs and manages the soil environment in the mining area, achieving a "win-win" situation of land use, ecological governance in subsidence areas, and power generation benefits, thereby building a green, low-carbon, and circular economy system. Every year, Zhejiang can provide about 3.7 billion kilowatt hours of green electricity, save about 1.15 million tons of standard coal, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 3.15 million tons, and achieve significant ecological and environmental benefits.

Under the "dual carbon" goal, China's photovoltaic industry is constantly moving towards "new" and pursuing greenery.

More than 20 kilometers away from the photovoltaic power station, Guoneng Ningxia Power Ningdong Power Plant innovatively utilizes the idle mine water formed during coal mining to build a floating distributed photovoltaic power station on the lake surface using corrosion-resistant and environmentally friendly photovoltaic modules tailored to local conditions. This is the first floating power station in northwest China and also the first mine water floating power station in China.

Xue Xiaowen, Director of the New Energy Management Department of Ningdong Power Plant, said that the water area is 800 acres, of which 275 acres are covered with photovoltaic panels to be three floating islands. This not only improves the local arid microclimate by reducing freshwater evaporation, but also saves nearly 10,000 tons of standard coal annually for self use of photovoltaic power generation. It is of great significance for promoting the transformation and upgrading of traditional energy industries, regional economic development in desert areas, and ecological protection and high-quality development in the Yellow River Basin." When photovoltaic panels generate electricity, they generate heat to promote photosynthesis, which is beneficial for the growth of aquatic plants and plankton.

Previously, we put in some fish fry to test whether the water quality has improved. Now that the fish have grown fat, it has attracted many waterfowl, including nationally protected wildlife,"said Xue Xiaowen.

As the first comprehensive demonstration zone for new energy in China, Ningxia continues to promote the development of the clean energy industry, with the utilization rate of new energy exceeding 97% for five consecutive years. As of the end of 2023, the installed capacity of new energy in Ningxia has exceeded 36 million kilowatts, and the per capita installed capacity of new energy has reached 5 kilowatts, making it the province with the highest intensity of new energy installation and development per unit of land area. According to the 14th Five Year Plan for energy development in Ningxia, photovoltaic power generation will become the main body of electricity increment, and the installed capacity will reach over 32.5 million kilowatts by 2025.