• South Korea plans to deploy a floating solar PV project with 2.1 GW capacity on Saemangeum Lake expected to use over 5 million solar modules
  • With approval coming from the MOTIE, the project could enter construction period in H2/2020
  • Government expects the project to attract private investment worth KRW 4.6 trillion ($3.9 billion)

South Korea has approved what could be the mother of all floating solar power projects in the world touting a capacity of 2.1 GW as a single plant. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) gave its stamp of approval to the project to come up on Saemangeum Lake.

The capacity of the plant will make it 14 times larger than today’s world largest floating solar project, a 150 MW floating PV project in China and equivalent to 1.6 times the installed capacity of 1.3 GW of global cumulative floating PV capacity in 2018, said MOTIE.

Construction on the project is expected to start in H2/2020 once all regulatory approvals are secured including environmental impact assessment. It is likely to make use of over 5 million solar modules and bring in KRW 4.6 trillion ($3.9 billion) in private investment while also opening up opportunities for the local solar industry.

In March 2019, Thailand announced 2.7 GW floating solar power capacity plans to be procured through competitive auctions, but it is to be set up in the form of 16 solar farms on 9 hydroelectric dam reservoirs (see Thailand Plans World’s Largest Floating PV Capacity). In June 2019, the country’s EGAT issued a call for bids for the 45 MW Sirindhorn Dam floating solar project.

There is much more happening in the world of floating solar globally although the technology is very much at the beginning.  The World Bank and Sinagpore’s SERIS wrote in a study on floating solar that  there’s over 400 GW potential for this technology if the world decided to use only 1% of total available surface area (see World Bank: Gigantic Potential For Floating PV).

The South Korean government made a big announcement in October 2018 for a 4 GW renewable energy complex on Saemangeum Reclaimed Land in Jeollabuk-do province with solar adding 3 GW & offshore wind 1 GW (see 4 GW Solar & Wind Complex For South Korea). The country wants to meet a 20% renewable energy target by 2030 and is thinking of increasing it to 35% by 2040 with an aim to reduce the country’s reliance on coal and nuclear power (see South Korea Aiming For 35% RE By 2040).