Korea's 3GW floating PV potential

South Korea has the potential to install up to 3GW of floating PV projects at 31 dams, an official tells Recharge.

State-run firm Korea Water Resources (K-water) hopes to build 1.2GW of floating PV by 2022. “But there are many restrictions, including environmental obstacles,” says Ho-yeon Han, director of green energy and resources at K-water. “Our plans could change.”

The company is planning South Korea’s second major floating PV project, an 8MW installation at two dams in Chungcheongnam province and Chungcheongbuk province, both south of Seoul. Construction will probably start in September or October 2014, pending approval from the Ministry of Environment.

Last year, as part of its three-phase “Solatus” project, K-water installed 500kW of floating panels, supplied by LS Industrial Systems, at a dam in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam province. It claims that the installation is the world’s biggest floating PV project and tentatively plans to install 40MW of panels at the dam by 2015.

“Korea is becoming interested in building PV on the water,” says Lee Sanghoon, an official at the Korean Society for New and Renewable Energy. “Rooftop PV potential is less than 10GW nationwide - we don’t have many land resources.”