What are floating solar panels?
Floating solar or floating photovoltaics (FPV), sometimes called photovoltaics, is solar panels mounted on a modular floating pontoon structure that floats on a body of water, typically a reservoir or a lake.
The market for this renewable energy technology has grown rapidly since 2016. The first 20 plants with capacities of a few dozen kWp were built between 2007 and 2013. Installed power reached 3 GW in 2020, with 10 GW predicted by 2025.
How do floating solar panels work?
Floating solar is an eco-friendly method of producing electricity. It combines marine and renewable energy technology. The electricity is sent from this floating pontoon structure through underwater cables to a transmission tower.
Where are floating solar in use today?
A lot of floating solar panel projects are built in Southeast Asia because of the relatively small availability of dry land over there. China has been quicker to embrace floating solar technology and built the largest floating solar panels market in the world.
Advantages of Floating Solar System
1. Save Valuable Land Space
Many ground-mounted solar panels result in the loss of valuable land space. However, with floating photovoltaics, you do not require land space. These installations could move on unused space on water such as wastewater treatment plants, drinking water reservoirs, or hydroelectric dam reservoirs. As a result, we can use land that we would have otherwise used to mount up solar panels. Additionally, installing floating solar panels eliminates the need for deforestation.
2. Keep the Water Clean
The best place to install solar panels is on stagnant fresh bodies of water like lakes or ponds. Freshwater has a high potential for growing excessive amounts of algae that can damage local wildlife by depleting oxygen from the water, and the panels serve as a deterrent.
Climate change heats up water which then permits algae from pollutive sources to increase. But, with floating solar on water, they assist in maintaining it cool, decreasing the attainable of algae blooms. Floating solar generate clean energy. Using renewable energy helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels’ generated electricity. As a result, there is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Improved Performance
Though solar panels can perform well under high temperatures, their efficiency can reduce over time. As temperatures increase, their efficiency also drops. When you install PV modules on water, it provides a cooling effect which improves their efficiency.
4. Easy Installation
The panels are mostly mounted on plastic dock cubes that can be assembled quickly. The modular design allows for easy installation and scalability, making it a hassle-free process. They can also be assembled in different shapes and sizes to create a flexible floating platform.
The Future of Floating Solar Energy
Given the multitudinous benefits and potential uses of levitating photovoltaic panels, it is highly probable that they shall assume an increasingly pivotal function in the prospect of renewable and uncontaminated energy. In point of fact, some specialists prognosticate that they shall furnish as much as 10% of the globe’s electric demands by the year 2050.
Notwithstanding, to absolutely actualize the potential of levitating photovoltaic panels, additional scrutiny and evolution must be undertaken to surmount the obstacles and optimize their functioning. This encompasses enhancing their cost-effectiveness, scalability, and ecological footprint, and also discovering fresh and avant-garde applications for the technology.
While the concept of Floatovoltaics may seem promising in terms of harnessing solar energy, it is not a perfect solution. In fact, the excessive use of solar panels can cause adverse effects on the ecosystem of water bodies. This can be due to the disruption of the flora and fauna living in the water. To avoid such problems, it is crucial for scientists to conduct a thorough study of how floating solar panels affect the water quality and ecology of each individual reservoir. It is advisable to focus first on using Floatovoltaics in man-made reservoirs and canals, which are expected to pose lower ecological risks.
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