Farms are big. Hundreds or thousands of acres. Your garden? Much smaller. Use that perspective to wrap your head around the difference between a solar farm, and a solar garden. Another way to look at it is that a solar garden is designed to meet the needs of an area the size of a community, while a solar farm can help an entire city.

In both cases, though, the solar panels are situated on land. Well, try wrapping your head around this…in early June, China unveiled the world’s largest floating solar farm.

A cool idea

The solar farm is located in a city known better for coal production than renewable energy. The city of Huainan is in China’s eastern Anhui province. The solar farm itself floats atop a flooded area that was once used for mining coal.

Why create a floating solar farm when there’s plenty of usable land around? The location offers an interesting operational improvement. The water cools down the solar panels, so they run more efficiently. The downside, though, is that general maintenance has to be given a reboot in thinking.

This floating solar farm has a production capacity of 40 megawatts of energy. That’s enough to supply the power needs of 15,000 average Chinese homes. China is a leader in renewable energy such as solar. The National Energy Association reports that last year, 11% of the country’s energy use was renewable. China’s participation in the Paris Accord means it aims to increase that usage percentage to 20% by 2030.

China’s not the only country getting into the floating solar farm business. England beat them to the punch, launching a 6-megawatt floating solar farm just outside London.

More to come

National pride is kicking in for China. They now hold the record for not only having the largest floating solar farm in the world, but they’re the top producer of solar energy on the planet.

Earlier this year, China completed a solar farm in Qinghai. This monster project takes up 27 square kilometers, and it’s capable of powering up to 200,000 homes. Already under construction is another Chinese project that will dwarf the Qinghai solar farm. It’s being constructed in Ningxia. How big will it be? It will be the world’s largest solar farm, featuring a staggering 6 million panels.

Whether they float or they’re on land—and whether they’re a big solar farm or a smaller community-sized solar garden, supporting these projects can have a measurable impact on the operational expenses tied to business energy use.

Local companies can team up with others in their business community and subscribe to our solar gardens. It creates an instant savings of up to 10% on office utility bills. Even better, there’s absolutely no upfront investment. Get all the same benefits of solar on your roof, without the cost. Read more about it here.