18 September 2018

Nothing fishy about aquatic solar projects

At first glance, teaming aquatic products with solar power seems like a shady idea. But the combination’s time in the sun has arrived on the mainland, helping some energy companies move downstream and the country to breathe a little easier. 

The idea is to breed high-end marine products like crabs, lobsters and eels in tanks shaded by tens of thousands of solar panels. The creatures shun the sun and easily sell for twice the price of common aquatic species.

The concept is being helped along by aggressive policy support in the form of tariff subsidies for distributed solar power facilities. The conventional approach has been to use rooftops to house solar power generators but the idea of using large fish ponds, which can stretch for hectare after hectare, has been catching on.

Leading solar wafer maker GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. (03800.HK) has waded into the industry and just announced that its 30-megawatt “Fishing-Solar Complementary Photovoltaic Power” project on the mainland has been plugged into the grid. It’s expected to generate millions of kilowatt hours a year and go some way to cutting pollution from coal use.

This is GCL’s fourth major on-site solar project to link to the power grid, indicating progress in Beijing’s push for grid companies to become more accommodating to solar energy. The project also reflects GCL’s commitment to extend its business downstream to become a more vertically integrated solar power play.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]



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