Sunday, September 24, 2023

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Sri Lanka’s first floating solar project gets underway with Korean aid

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka is set to harness the best potential for floating solar, with its diverse, large, distributed water bodies, both natural and man-made.

The Ceylon Electricity Board has selected the 25 largest reservoirs and the 30 largest lagoons of the country.

It assumed 15 percent of the area of reservoirs and 10 percent of the areas lagoons will be used, and estimated how much floating solar PV can be added to the grid. It is possible to install 1.8MWp of solar cells on a hectare of water surface, harnessing more than 2.5GWh of energy per year.

The size of Sri Lanka water bodies is significant – spanning to more than 5,000 ha in the case of our largest reservoirs and more than 10,000 ha in the case of the largest lagoons.

This presents a potential solar capacity of 34.8 GWp, which will give us an annual energy output of 55,000 GWh. The energy demand of the country in 2020, according to CEB Generation Plan, is 18,542 GWh. 55,000 GWh exceeds the national energy demand for 2044, 54,963 GWh, CEB sources claimed.

The peak demand by 2044 would only be 8,709MW. Therefore connecting bulk of this solar output to the national grid will not be possible if it remains synchronous (one that generates and consumes energy at the same time).

CEB would need battery storage to connect some of the capacity to the existing transmission nodes – but this is not an immediate requirement, energy engineers’ forum said.

The Ministry of Power and Energy yesterday (31 May) signed an agreement with the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) to develop the first floating solar project in Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, a grant of US$ 5.2 million was extended by KIAT to the sustainable energy authority, in order to develop two floating solar projects of 1 MW each, Minister Kanchan Wijesekera said.

The project, set to be completed in December 2024, will be developed by Korean Engineering Companies on the ‘Chandrika Wewa’ and the ‘Kiri Ibban Wewa’ reservoirs in the Sabaragamuwa and Uva provinces, respectivel

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera yesterday (30 May) held a meeting online with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

Sri Lanka’s first floating solar plant (46 kW) was declared open asa pilot project on January 24, 2020 by the Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Trine Jøranli Eskedal, at the Kilinochchi premises of the University of Jaffna.

Current Solar AS, the Norwegian developer of floating PV solutions, designed the system based on the experience from their test site in Singapore.

The first floating system is established as an experimental plant in the pond with a depth of about 2 m. Floating pipes used in the design are made of high-density PolyEthylene in order to lift the solar panel sets, upon the water surface.

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