Bloomberg Markets
Fish Farm China Solar Farm Image Credit: Bloomberg Markets
Fish Farm China Solar Farm Image Credit: Bloomberg Markets

Fish Farms Are Now Hosting Almost 9% of China's Solar Power Panels

Workers at a solar farm outside Yueyang City on July 2. Panels are installed at a height that allows fishery vessels to pass underneath.

James Batty

Look closely at China’s solar power market and you might come across something a little, well, fishy.

Fish farm solar plants represent almost 9% of the 135.7 gigawatts of sun-power capacity installed across the country, according to BloombergNEF’s database. And, no, these aren’t pools of cod with photovoltaic fins. A large number of these are banks of floating or fixed solar panels positioned over water where fish are farmed.

Land constraints are the main driver for this growing market. China may not be short of land overall, but near cities, which require the most electricity, there is a shortage of suitable space for solar installations. A solar plant needs roughly 2 hectares (5 acres) of land to generate a megawatt of power, so generating substantial power requires a lot of space. And China is the world’s biggest farmer of fish, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with a lot of facilities located close to major cities.

To see where these fish farm power plants are, type “maps” in the command line of a Bloomberg terminal screen and hit . Click on Datasets and type “power” into the amber box. Tick the box next to pwr_plants Global Power Plants near the bottom of the search results and click the Open in Map button.

This will load all power plants globally. To drill down to fish farm plants, first click Clear Selection to the right of Status and then tick only the O

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