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Germany Considers Converting Coal Mine Pits Into Floating Solar Farms

published: 2020-02-17 18:30

Germany is studying the feasibility of converting coal-mine pits into sites for floating solar farms, after the closure of its existing 84 coal-fired thermal power plants, which are scheduled in 2038.

The idea has been put forth by Fraunchhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE), in a study commissioned by Germany’s renewable-energy firm Bayware, as an option in managing the problem of numerous abandoned coal mine pits–mostly open ones for bovey coal—which is in line with the government’s policy of terminating coal-fired thermal power plants starting from 2030, following the end of nuclear power in 2022.

After those open pits become artificial lakes over time, Fraunhofer ISE calculates that they will be able to become sites for floating solar farms with potential capacity totaling 56 GW, or 2.74 GW, after taking into account the use of the sites for tourism or as natural landscape.

There are now some 500 open coal-mine pits in Germany, totaling 47,250 hectares in space, of which 4.9% will be able to accommodate floating PV power systems.

The plan, if materialized, will greatly facilitate the achievement of Germany’s goal of boosting the share of its renewable energy to 65% by 2035, up from 46% now.

(Photo courtesy of LMBV)

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