World's Largest Floating Solar Farm, Now Online in China

©. Sungrow Power

When I wrote about China and India being years ahead of their climate pledges, some commenters expressed skepticism. But whatever your views on how well we can trust official government statistics, one thing is pretty much undeniable at this point:

Renewable energy and clean tech are very big business in China and India right now.

The latest case in point, reported over at Design Boom, is the connection to the grid of a gigantic 40-megawatt, floating solar farm in the city of Huainan, China. While we've written about floating solar farms in Europe and Japan before, most of these early projects have been in the 6 to 13 MW range in terms of capacity. At 40 MW, the Huainan plant built by Sungrow Power would be considered sizable, even if it was located on land.

But why put it out on the water?

Besides the obvious benefits of not taking up farm land or other valuable real estate, proponents of floating solar say it has two other key benefits: It can reduce evaporation from reservoirs, and because the water also cools the surrounding air, it can reduce solar module degradation and increase efficiency of production too.

That's a pretty sweet deal. And making it even sweeter: Digital Trends report that the reservoir the plant was constructed over is actually flooded former coal mining land.

Nice to see that ambitious clean energy leadership is alive and well in some parts of the world.