China builds largest floating solar power farm at 40 MW and will complete 150 MW system in September

China plans to spend $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020.

China has built the world’s largest floating solar farm with 166,000 panels on a lake created when a nearby mine collapsed. While not an entirely unique idea — similar facilities are working in Japan, the U.K. and Israel — the project’s scale represents a step forward for China in shaping the future of energy.

In Anhui, Sungrow’s 40-megawatt solar farm in a district of Huainan city called Panji features panels fixed to floats on the surface of a lake that formed after the ground surrounding an old coal mine collapsed.

By the end of September, Sungrow will complete more than 150 megawatts of new floating capacity in Huainan, said Hu Bing, an executive at Sungrow, the world’s second-biggest photovoltaic inverter maker.

The Anhui project could yield 5 percent to 10 percent more power compared with a conventional solar plant because the panels are expected to be cooled as surface water evaporates, said Hu.