Implementation of floating photovoltaic systems

  • Location: Hong Kong
  • Location: Hong Kong
  • Client: Water Supplies Department and Drainage Services Department
  • Project status: Ongoing

Project overview
The feasibility studies for the large-scale implementation of floating solar farms (FSF) at 17 impounding reservoirs, and more specifically the FSF at Plover Cove Reservoir, and the implementation of floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems in two major rivers in Hong Kong have paved the way to meet the government’s new “Green Energy Target” to enable the city to be better prepared for coping with climate change and achieving its carbon footprint reduction. The siting of FPV systems on water bodies saves valuable land resources. Other benefits include the natural cooling effect of the water bodies that enhances the photovoltaic efficiency, helps Hong Kong to save water from evaporation and improves water quality by suppressing algae growth.

Our role
Binnies was appointed engineering consultant to the Water Supplies Department and the Drainage Services Department for all-round assessments of implementing FPV systems against significant economic, social and environmental factors, including risks associated with typhoons. We identified suitable sites and optimal power capacities and investigated the possible ways of utilising the energy generated, taking into consideration commercial models, stakeholder views and the resilience of photovoltaic systems, for the implementation of the FPV project.

Challenges

  • Ensure the safety of the PV systems under different weather conditions, especially during typhoons
  • Reconcile diverse stakeholder views and conflicting interests on the implementation of FPV systems at the two popular rivers
  • Ensure efficient utilisation of power generated under different site conditions
  • Determine a way forward despite various constraints, including cost-effectiveness, planning and land requirements, technical feasibility, environmental considerations and social acceptance, hindering the FPV installations

Solutions

  • Adoption of a robust anchoring system that can withstand adverse weather conditions without causing disturbance to the bottom of the rivers and reservoirs
  • Early, effective and efficient engagement with key stakeholders, decision-makers and influencers
  • Utilise the renewable energy generated for consumption by government facilities to enhance energy efficiency and reduce energy bills
  • Adopting a progressive approach for implementation of the FPV systems to avoid over-commitment and to maintain flexibility

Benefits and Achievements

1
Sustainable

This was one of the main renewable energy initiatives leading Hong Kong towards the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

2
Expertise

We provided useful findings and reference data to facilitate the continuous development of floating photovoltaic systems in Hong Kong.

3
Project win

The success of the first study for the implementation of large-scale floating solar farms among the 17 impounding reservoirs in Hong Kong has paved the way for Binnies winning the subsequent studies for implementation of an FPV scheme at Plover Cove Reservoir and the implementation of FPV systems at two major rivers in Hong Kong.

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