The world’s reportedly largest hydro-floating solar hybrid project, built by Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) at Sirindhorn Dam has begun commercial operation. The 45 MW Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani Province began commercial operation on October 31, 2021. It will also become a new tourism attraction for the province of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand in early 2022.
The project maximises the use of the existing transmission infrastructure, electrical equipment, and the water of Sirindhorn Dam which helps in reducing costs. Further, it can generate electricity using both solar power during the day and hydropower during periods of no sunshine. An energy management system is used in conjunction with a weather forecast system for effective operations and maintenance. EGAT also intends to set up a renewable energy control centre that will employ artificial intelligence to further improve energy efficiency.
EGAT will proceed with 15 further projects totaling 2,725 MW across the country following this project’s success. It will set up the next 24 MW project at Ubol Ratana Dam in Khon Kaen Province.
REGlobal’s Views: Floating solar projects are gaining traction globally owing to limited availability of land or land acquisition challenges in many regions. Further, synergies between hydropower plants and floating solar in terms of transmission infrastructure make an attractive business case for such hybrid projects.