Hong Kong: Black & Veatch to look into large-scale floating solar farms in reservoirs

In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Black & Veatch is exploring the possibility of installing large-scale floating solar panels at Hong Kong’s 17 impounded reservoirs under a feasibility study commissioned by the Water Supplies Department of the Hong Kong SAR. The development of the floating solar farms have the potential to assist Hong Kong in lowering their water loss, suppress algae growth, as well as generate power from renewable sources, according to a news release from Black & Veatch.

Enoch Lam Tin Sing, the Director of Water Supplies Department of the Hong Kong SAR, said, “While there are multiple environmental and economic benefits, this is a complex and innovative approach for Hong Kong, and the study will help identify and understand the potential issues from a sustainability perspective.”

According to the news release, the feasibility study will apply a risk-based assessment of installing floating solar farms against significant economic, social, and environmental factors, including the threats typhoons bring to Hong Kong’s shores. Commercial models, power capabilities, resilience, siting, and technology will also be considered.

“Thinking holistically and sustainably – how water, power and all resources are connected – is seeing a wealth of engineering innovation emerge that needs to be properly understood technically and financially,” Vice President and Managing Director of Black & Veatch, Alan Man, said. “The Water Supplies Department of Hong Kong exemplifies this forward thinking through exploring how it can further secure water supply by reducing evaporation while also creating a new revenue stream by working closely with the electric grid.”

Black & Veatch has maintained a presence in Hong Kong since its first project there more than 85 years ago, in the 1930s, and helped to coordinate and engineer Hong Kong’s 17 impounded reservoirs. For this project, Black & Veatch will combine a team from its water, renewable energy and management consulting businesses.

As part of the technical evaluation, two floating photovoltaic (PV) pilot projects, each with a capacity of 100kWm located at Shek Pik and Plover Cove respectively – although the latter is still under construction – will be studied.

In the United Kingdom (U.K.), Black & Veatch also offered technical support to the national energy regulator’s review of the Renewables Obligation application for the globe’s largest floating solar farm, the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir at Walton-on-Thames, completed for Thames Water in 2016.

Source: Black & Veatch