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Germany’s largest floating solar PV facility to be located in a former open-cast mining area

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The country’s largest floating solar power plant will be constructed on the man-made Cottbus Ostsee lake, which is located on the site of a former open-pit lignite mine, it was announced by the city’s mayor Holger Kelch (CDU), along with energy company LEAG. Regional officials in eastern German Cottbus have given the go-ahead for the project. According to a news release, now that the project has received governmental approval, its developers, LEAG and EP New Energies (EPNE), can submit their applications for the requisite building permits by the end of the year.

It’s possible that construction work on the plant, which will produce approximately 20,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of power annually, won’t get underway until the spring of 2023. Leag had said earlier this year that the factory may also begin operations the following year. “Even though the floating solar plant on the 1,900-hectare Cottbus Ostsee lake is only going to occupy less than one percent of the lake’s surface, the plant will make an important contribution to the climate-friendly power supply of Cottbus’ harbour district,” said Fabian von Oesen, head of renewable energies at LEAG. “The plant will make an important contribution to the climate-friendly power supply of Cottbus’ harbor district.”

According to the press release, the size of the lake makes it possible to establish such a floating solar power plant without disrupting planned shipping routes or intruding on lakeshores that are used for tourism. According to LEAG’s estimates, the power plant will generate enough electricity each year to provide 5,700 homes. “Floating photovoltaics is only the first step that we are taking together; other projects, such as wind turbines and a lake water heat pump, will follow,” said Kelch. “This is just the beginning of what we hope to accomplish together.”

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It is anticipated that the Cottbus Ostsee, an artificial lake that is now being developed on the grounds of a former open-pit lignite mine in eastern Germany, will become Germany’s largest artificial inland lake by the end of this decade. In addition, LEAG is working on the planning stages for further renewable energy projects in the state of Brandenburg, which will be located on other formerly used fossil fuel sites.

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