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A former coal mine in Germany could soon house a floating solar farm

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Floating Solar Farm in California

Decarbonising the grid is going to require a lot of ingenuity and some out of the box ideas, and new technologies are already coming on the market that could speed up our net zero future. 

In this week’s Gossage, Electrical Review explores a unique floating solar farm that has been proposed for a coal mine in Germany, and what benefits such a project could bring. 

Plans by Swiss technology company and solar panel manufacturer Meyer Burger to build a 10GW floating solar plant on a lake due to be left behind by the future closure of Germany’s Hambach coal mine, is gaining support from the local scientific community. 

Uwe Rau, director of the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at the Forschungszentrum Juelich research centre, describes the company’s proposal in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as, “perfect and absolutely feasible.”

Noting that it was an ideal situation for the region, Rau maintains installing solar parks in opencast mines and replacing coal-fired power stations would offer a double advantage, because electricity pylons and lines leading away from coal-fired power plants would not have to be dismantled and erected elsewhere. 

“It also fits in very well in terms of scale: the solar park could generate just as much electricity as all of today’s coal-fired power plants in North Rhine-Westphalia’s mining district combined.” 

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