The total area of South Korea is not large. Instead of clearing what little space remains for renewable energy projects, 92,000 plum blossom-shaped solar panels now float on the surface of a southern reservoir.
The solar project on the 17-mile-long reservoir in Hapcheon can generate 41.5 megawatts, enough to feed 60,000 people, more than the total population of the department.
Floating solar photovoltaic (PV) is set to become the benchmark for renewable energy generation in Asia, and a recent speech by President Moon Jae-in described floating solar as an important part of a renewable energy in total for the production of 9.4 gigawatts of electricity. in South Korea, or almost the same as nine nuclear reactors.
“The three peaks of Hwangmaesan Mountain reflected in Hapcheon Lake are shaped like plum blossoms. Scattered across the surface of this lake are photovoltaic panels that also resemble plum blossoms from an ink and wash painting,” President Moon said.
Hanwa, the company responsible for building the thriving panel arrays, suggests that the demand for floating PV panels is set to increase in the coming years, and not just in Asia. Thailand has already built the world’s largest floating solar PV plant, which is about the size of 70 football fields.
Combining photovoltaic solar panels with water sources such as canals or reservoirs increases their efficiency by up to 10%, as the surrounding water helps them stay naturally cooler. Bloomberg reports that they also help reduce hostile algae blooms.
$1.4 million, or about 4% of the total funding for the project, came from Hapcheon residents. They were the first to be offered the opportunity to join a 20-year investment plan with an annual return of 10%, which should help generate useful income for older residents in a neighborhood where the average age is nearly 60 years old.