The world’s largest Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project at Sirindhorn Dam by EGAT began commercial operation, and it will become a new tourist attraction of Ubon Ratchathani Province, ready to welcome tourists in early 2022. EGAT will move ahead with 15 more projects nationwide totaling 2,725 MW to reaffirm itself as a leader of clean energy in order to drive the country towards a sustainable low-carbon society.

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         Mr. Boonyanit Wongrukmit, Governor of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) revealed that the 45-MW Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani Province began commercial operation on October 31, 2021 to enhance the country’s power system security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions of around 47,000 tons/year, and provide clean energy to help mitigate global warming. Mr. Sara Suwannarat, Director of the Office of the Energy Regulatory Commission 5 (Ubon Ratchathani); Mr. Thanakorn Sornart, Ubon Ratchathani Provincial Energy; Mr. Wanchai Photthihansa, project manager from the contract company, B.Grimm Power Public Company Limited; and EGAT executives joined the commercial operation date (COD) opening ceremony held in a meeting room at Chang Noi Building, Sirindhorn Dam, Ubon Ratchathani Province.

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         Furthermore, EGAT gave importance to developing the quality of life of the community by promoting the power plant to be a new tourist attraction in Ubon Ratchathani Province, which will be open to the general public from January 2022 onwards. The power plant will help create jobs and income for the community so it can be sustainably self-reliant, and also stimulate the overall economy of the province.

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         Due to the project’s success, EGAT will follow through with the next 24-MW project at Ubol Ratana Dam in Khon Kaen Province and other projects in EGAT dams nationwide totaling 15 projects, to reach total capacity of 2,725 MW so that Thailand can achieve the goal of Net Zero Emissions and become a sustainable low-carbon society.

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         The main feature of the world’s largest Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project at Sirindhorn Dam is it can generate electricity from both “solar power” during the day and “hydropower” from the existing dam when there is no sunlight, or during peak power demand at nighttime. The power plant is controlled and managed by an energy management system (EMS) along with a weather forecast system to increase the stability of the power system; therefore, it can generate electricity longer and lower the limitations of renewable energy. In the future, EGAT plans to build a renewable energy control center that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to increase power generation efficiency.

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         The power plant has seven sets of solar panels installed on the water surface of less than one percent of the entire reservoir. The solar panels and floating platforms are all eco-friendly and do not affect the underwater environment. Moreover, using the existing transmission system, electrical equipment, and the water surface of Sirindhorn Dam to its full potential can help save cost and expenses, leading to lower electricity cost. The solar panels were placed at an angle with space between the panel and platform so sunlight can pass through into the water, thereby not affecting the underwater environment. Placing solar panels on the water surface also helps reduce the panels’ heat, making it 10-15 percent more efficient than solar panels installed on land, and reduces water evaporation in the dam around 460,000 m3/year.