Indonesia’s largest floating solar plant was officially inaugurated by President Joko Widodo earlier this month. According to Nikkei Asia, the plant covers an area of over 250 hectares. The plant is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and the third-largest globally.

Located in Cirata Reservoir, West Java Province, the plant is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 50,000 homes.

The Cirata plant was constructed by a partnership consisting of PowerChina Huadong Engineering Corporation, PLN, and Masdar. PLN is Indonesia’s state electricity corporation. Meanwhile, Masdar is a state-owned clean energy company from the United Arab Emirates.

The project received an investment of $145 million and consists of more than 340,000 solar panels. These panels generate just under 200 MW of electricity every year.

Indonesia aims to increase its renewable energy contribution, which currently stands at only 15% of total power generation capacity. The country has set a target of achieving 23% renewable energy by 2025. At present, coal remains the primary source of electricity generation in the country.

With a population of over 270 million, Indonesia is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 43.2% from 2010 levels. The country has set a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2060.

The Cirata plant plays a crucial role in Indonesia’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. According to Interesting Engineering, the plant will lower annual CO2 emissions by an estimated 214,000 tons.

PLN and Masdar are in discussions to expand the plant and increase its power generation capacity to 500 MW.

The Cirata plant highlights the exciting impact that floating solar plants can have in tropical nations. Like many tropical countries, Indonesia is densely populated, limiting the amount of land that can be used for new energy projects. Floating solar plants increase energy production without requiring more land.

Floating solar plants don’t even need to take up much water surface. The Cirata plant occupies only 4% of the dam’s reservoir surface.

According to a recently released study from Australian National University, floating solar panels in tropical regions offer virtually unlimited energy generation potential. They have the ability to power 50 billion homes.

Image Source: James Gingerich