“How Floating Solar Arrays Are Better Than Its Competitors?”

Floating Solar Arrays

Not every roof is suitable for solar panel installation. Determinants for instance shade, available space, age and obstructions can prompt property owners searching for other locations.

Acknowledging large-scale solar projects, ground mounts and solar canopies are subsequently some of the most common alternatives to rooftop solar panel systems. However, with more advanced technologies, here’s a more innovative option to go for, i.e., making quite a splash in the solar industry: Floating Solar.

What is a floating solar?

"Floating solar arrays"
Source: IEEE Spectrum

Floating solar refers to a solar power production installation mounted on a structure that floats on a body of water, for instance, an artificial basin or a lake. It’s also called floating photovoltaic (FPV). Here, the solar panels are affixed to a buoyant structure to keep them above the water surface. Additionally, if you come across such a solar installation, you’ll discern it likely to be located in a lake or basin. This is because the water of these is calmer than the ocean. This is comparatively a modish concept and the first patent for such technology was registered in 2008. Since it resolves issues of land and shade, so many developed countries like China, Japan and the UK are using it.

How does it work?

"Working of floating solar arrays"
Source: Slideshare

These solar panels are installed on a floatation system that suspends the panels a few feet above the water surface. Besides, the panel serves many purposes. Not only they provide energy, but also prevent water loss due to evaporation. The power generation can further be increased as the proximity to water, cools the panel. Next, the shaded pool prevents algal growth. This implies the shade balls used on the Los Angeles reservoir to conserve water, which is now also generating a huge amount of power as a bonus.

Advantages of floating solar.

Source: Solar

1. Prevents loss of valuable land space

This is certainly one of the biggest advantages of these solar installations. Many of these consume the unused space on water bodies, for example, hydroelectric dam reservoirs, wastewater treatment ponds, or drinking water reservoirs. Thus, it utilizes an area that wouldn’t otherwise be used, instead of engulfing a sunny land that could serve other important purposes down the line. Besides, it prevents deforestation and forest burning, a conventional practice before installation of larger solar panels.

2. Higher and more efficient performance

Although solar panels are durable and can sustain under hot temperatures, it has been noted that the performance tends to decrease with the ceaseless rising temperature. This is a serious threat to all those landowners looking for installing it in a hot, sunny climate. So, floating solar arrays came as the ultimate solution. The bodies of water that host such arrays helps in cooling down the solar equipment. As a result, the panels can produce electricity at higher efficiencies in even hot climates.

3. Environment benefits

This type of solar installation not only goes with sustainable development but also cleaner and greener energy. Firstly, the panel structure shades the water bodies, reducing their evaporation. This can prevent water shortage and some severe upcoming droughts. Secondly, it prevents algal bloom and eutrophication of the lakes, ponds and other water bodies.

Studies indicate that just in the United States, freshwater blooms result in the loss of $4 billion each year.”

Moreover, floating solar panels are a source of clean, renewable electricity. Undoubtedly, the continuous use of renewable energy technologies can eliminate greenhouse gases and other pollutants present in the atmosphere. This will consequently lead to a positive impact on both natures as you as humans.

4. The list of advantages further include the use of completely recyclable construction materials. Thus, they even don’t cost a penny to our mother nature.

5. Not to forget, about the misnomer. As many presume from its name that it would be constructed at the cost of disruption to the aquatic lives. So, in this regard, let’s mind the fact that the reservoir placement assures zero disruption to any aquatic life.

However, the cost of installation may drill a hole in your wallet as this new technology requires specialized equipment and more niche installation knowledge. But of course, the price is expected to drop as the technology advances.

Notable floating solar companies and installations.

Largest installation worldwide

"World's largest floating solar plant in China"
Source: World Economic Forum

Location: Anhui province, China
Company: Sungrow Power Supply
Size: 40 megawatts

This FPV produces much electricity to power 15,000 home in China. There are overall 166,000 panels included on the structure. The project certainly uses monocrystalline modules from Chinese manufacturer LONGi Solar. Central inverters have also been put on stilt platforms on the shoreline of the quarry lake so as not to interfere with neighbouring farm activity.

Floating Solar Panels in India

Largest installation nationwide

Visakhapatnam floating solar plant
Source: Iamrenew

The Greater Visakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Limited (GVSCCL): Located on the Mudasarlova reservoir in Visakhapatnam, the Greater Visakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Limited (GVSCCL) has commissioned a 2 MW grid-connected floating solar photovoltaic (PV) project. It also covers an area of 20 acres in the reservoir and costs about Rs 120 million. Additionally, this is now the largest operational floating solar PV projects in India displacing the 500kW FPV commissioned in Kerala in December 2017.

Second largest operational nationwide

"kerala's floating solar arrays"
Source: TheEconomicTimes

Kerala Floods Spare Wayanad’s Floating Solar Power Plant: Surviving the harsh Kerala floods, the KSEB’s floating solar plant at Banasura was certainly the largest floating solar power plant in the country until August 23, 2018, until it got replaced by the above-mentioned FPV. With its 500kWp (kilowatt peak), the project floats on 1m25 acres of water surface.

Concerning the Kerala floods, P Manoharan, Assistant Executive Engineer research and dam safety sub-division) at Banasura Sagar said, “We had real concern about the floating solar plant as the waves were as high as 40-50cm, especially on August 8 and 9. But the floating structures have withstood the Kerala floods fury.”

To sum up

Thus, we saw solar panels can save your money, regardless of which type you opt for. Also, if you’re interested in exploring more interesting solar-related blogs, visit our home page. Till then keep reading, keep supporting!

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