Sri Lanka’s first floating solar plant (46 kW) was declared open on January 24, 2020 by the Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Trine Jøranli Eskedal, at the Kilinochchi premises of the University of Jaffna. Current Solar AS, the Norwegian developer of floating PV solutions, designed the system based on the experience from their test site in Singapore. The first floating system is established as an experimental plant in the pond with a depth of about 2 m. Floating pipes used in the design are made of high-density Poly Ethylene in order to lift the solar panel sets, upon the water surface.
The floating solar plant, installed under Capacity Building and Establishment of Research Consortium Project, is a result of the research collaboration since 2017 between the University of Jaffna and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo.
Total cost of the floating solar project (component cost) is around LKR 10 million, which includes 157 Solar Panels (295 Wp & 315 Wp), 50kW SMA Inverter Data logger, sensors and a ground mounted PV system. This floating solar system is expected to have 4 – 5% more power yield (kWh/kWp) compared to the land – based system. The average generated power per month is around 5000 kWh. The floating pilot power plant system is connected through a net metering connection to the utility. This is the University supply under the General purpose tariff system of the Ceylon Electricity Board. The plant generates yearly income of LKR 0.9 million. Therefore the simple payback period is expected to be around 11 years as it is the first and power plant. It is expected to reduce the cost of this plant with technological advancement and when implementing the larger power plant. Accordingly the payback period will be reduced further. The floating solar power plant is also considered as one of the RE power plant technologies to achieve this Government target. This has been reported in the Ceylon Electricity Board Long Term Generation plan 2022 to 2041, Refer page 116 out of 282 under section 22.214.171.124. Accordingly total of solar plant generation is expected to grow over 100MW installation in near future.
Testing and planning are carrying out by the research students and staff from the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and the university of Jaffna, respectively to check viability of generating power from the floating solar during this power crises situation. Further analysis are carried out to enhance this floating solar technologies to generate power as a large scale generation.
For more detail, please refer Report on the first ever floating solar power plant impacts
The university of Jaffna sincerely thanks to Professor Dhayalan Velauthapillai , Western Norway University of Applied Sciences for his tireless work in establish the Sri Lanka’s first ever floating solar plant by coordinating with Current Solar AS, the Norwegian developer of floating PV solutions, Norwegian Embassy and the university.