SMA supplies Myanmar’s largest PV project, 20 MW Chinese floating array

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SMA’s Asia-Pacific team has registered two strong results. Today, SMA Solar Technology AG announced that it supplied 511 Zeversolar 40K-MV to a vast floating array installed at a fish farm. The 40kW string inverters, produced by SMA subsidiary Zeversolar were selected due to their reduced installation and O&M costs, and light weight – the company claimed in a statement.

The 20 MW ‘floatovoltaics’ array was grid connected and has been in full operation since June 2018.

In Southeast Asia, and in the nascent solar market of Myanmar, SMA will supply its Sunny Central 1000SC-XT inverters, coupled to its medium-voltage MVPS 2000SC platform, to the 50 MW Minbu Solar Park. The array is the first stage of a 220 MW project first announced in 2013, although progress on the project has been slow.

“In the northern region of Myanmar, where the PV project is located, the performance of the inverter capacity under extremely high temperatures is of fundamental importance,” said John Susa, Executive VP of SMA Sales for North America and APAC [Asia-Pacific]. “Our Sunny Central inverters can address the demand with full nominal power in continuous operation at ambient temperatures of up to 40C.”

Susa referred to the project as representing “one of the milestones” for SMA in the region.

Chinese EPC CTIEC, China Triumph International Engineering Group Co, is taking the lead on the 50 MW Minbu project. Previously, Thai EPCs Vintage Engineering Public Company Limited (VTE) had been linked to the array – with the involvement of Philippines’ Basic Energy Corporation, and early-stage Thai developer Green Earth Power.

The project has been flagged as a part of Myanmar’s goal to increase electricity generation capacity in the country from 2.5 GW to 30 GW. The first 50 MW stage, which SMA will supply, is said to have sufficient capacity to provide 20,000 Myanmar homes with power.

“Minbu Solar Park is the first large-scale solar project in Myanmar, we need to work with reliable partners to ensure its success in performance,” said CTIEC’s Ray Liu in a statement.

20 MW floating PV at fish farm

The 20 MW floating project in Jiangsu, named the PV Power Plant Project of Yancheng, is notable not only for its size, but also that it was installed at a fish farming site. Often, fish farming PV projects in China are located on shallow ponds, with raised mounting systems embedded into the lake bed.

The Yancheng project is installed on a floating mounting system. Previously, Chinese inverter maker Sungrow has had particular success in supplying both floating structures and inverter systems to floatovoltaic projects.

“Agricultural solar market is very important with potential to grow significantly in China,” said Yong Zhang, President of SMA China. “[EPC on the project] Runhai has extensive experience developing large-scale solar plants and has the capability to effectively advance our value-added technologies.”

SMA acquired a majority stake in Chinese inverter producer Zeversolar in 2013. While the move has been considered a risky one for the German PV giant, it has allowed the company to intensify its engagement not only in the Chinese market, but in the region.

Eastern China and Southeast Asia are well-suited to floating PV deployment. Coupling power generation with food production, floating arrays can bring economic and environmental benefits to local communities – SMA claims in a statement.