Black & Veatch to study floating solar panels in HK reservoirs

Global engineering, procurement and construction company (EPC) Black & Veatch is currently studying the feasibility of large-scale floating solar panels installed at Hong Kong’s 17 impounded reservoirsfor the Water Supplies Department of the Hong Kong SAR.

Development of floating solar farms could help Hong Kong reduce water loss, suppress algae growth and generate power from renewable resources.

“While there are multiple environmental and economic benefits, this is a complex and innovative approach for Hong Kong, and the study will help identify and understand the potential issues from a sustainability perspective,” said Enoch Lam Tin Sing, Director of Water Supplies Department of the Hong Kong.

The study will apply a risk-based assessment of installing floating solar farms against significant economic, social and environmental factors, including threats from typhoons. Technology, siting, power capacities, commercial models and resilience of solar farms will be considered.

“Thinking holistically and sustainably – how water, power and all resources are connected – is seeing a wealth of engineering innovation emerge that needs to be properly understood technically and financially. The Water Supplies Department of Hong Kong exemplifies this forward thinking through exploring how it can further secure water supply by reducing evaporation while also creating a new revenue stream by working closely with the electric grid,” said Alan Man, Vice President and Managing Director of Black & Veatch in Hong Kong.

Black & Veatch will combine a team from its water, renewable energy and management consulting businesses.  The company has played an integral role in developing Hong Kong water supply since 1930, involved in the engineering of Hong Kong’s 17 impounded reservoirs.

The company continues to work on a number of flagship water projects in Hong Kong including the design of Hong Kong’s first reverse osmosis desalination plant at Tseung Kwan O and the development of a sustainable design to reduce the burden on fresh water and use of energy at the expansion of Hong Kong International Airport.

The company also provided technical support to the UK’s energy regulator’s review of the Renewables Obligation application for the world’s largest floating solar farm, Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir at Walton-on-Thames which was completed for Thames Water in 2016.

Two floating photovoltaic (PV) pilot projects, each 100kW capacity, at ShekPik and Plover Cove reservoirs (the latter being under construction) will serve as part of the technical evaluation.