If you’re like most people, you’re probably familiar with solar panels as those rectangular boxes that are often mounted on roofs. But what about solar panels that float? Believe it or not, this technology exists and is growing in popularity due to its many benefits. In this article, we’ll introduce you to floating solar panels, their advantages, and why they may be the future of renewable energy.
What Are Floating Solar Panel Systems?
Floating solar panels, also known as floating photovoltaic (FPV) or photovoltaics, are solar panels mounted on structures that float on bodies of water like water reservoirs, aqua farms, and any human-made water bodies. These innovative panels provide solar energy production without the need for costly land acquisition or the environmental impacts of ground-mounted panels.
The floating solar panel first appeared in central Japan in 2007, but the technology did not become widely used until much later. Since then, many countries have begun to adopt this cutting-edge solar installation technology due to its many benefits.
Ground-mounted solar panels
How Do Floating Solar Panels Work?
Unlike traditional photovoltaic panels, which are mounted on rooftops or other fixed surfaces, floating solar panels are installed on hollow plastic buoys that float on human-made bodies of water. These buoys form a large solar array of interconnected panels that capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity.
Solar panels on a rooftop
The Features of Floating Solar Projects
Floating solar photovoltaic features a modular design consisting of solar modules made from anti-rust material and mounted to vertical and horizontal frames. A buoyancy body constructed from lightweight yet durable polyethylene is integrated into the structure to ensure these solar modules stay in place even in choppy water or strong winds.
An inspection footrest makes it easy for maintenance personnel to inspect the solar panel safely. Finally, the floating solar structure is coated with a bending-resistant magnesium alloy that resists rust and corrosion.
Pros of Floating Solar Panels
Preventing Loss of Valuable Land space
One of the primary advantages of floating solar is that it does not require the use of land, which can be a scarce resource. Additionally, it can use bodies of water unsuitable for other types of development, such as hydroelectric dam reservoirs, drinking water reservoirs, and flooded quarries.
Higher solar panel efficiency
Another advantage of floating solar panel arrays is that the panels can be more efficient than those on land. The panels can cool themselves by being in contact with water, which increases their efficiency.
Provide Benefits for The Environment
In addition to being more efficient, floating solar panels have a smaller environmental footprint than traditional ground-mounted solar panels. Plus, they can help reduce reservoir evaporation, leading to water shortages.
Can be installed at existing Hydroelectric plants
Floating solar can work with existing power plants. For example, many hydropower dams have excess water to support floating solar panels. It creates a hybrid system that can generate power from the dam and the sun.
A hydropower plant
Cons of Floating Solar Panels
Can Be Pricey
The cost of installing floating solar panels is significantly higher than installing traditional ground-mounted solar farms. It is because special equipment is necessary to install the panels in addition to the knowledge and expertise needed to assemble and maintain the floating array properly.
A solar farm
Floating solar installations are large-scale projects that may not be suitable for everyone. For example, they require a large body of water and may not be practical for residential or small-scale use. Traditional panels would be more suitable in these cases.
Top Floating Solar Farms by Capacity
|Floating Solar Plant||Capacity||Location|
|Saemangeum||2.1GW||Yellow Sea, Saemangeum, South Korea|
|Omkareshwar Dam||600MW||Narmada river in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, India|
|Hangzhou Fengling||320MW||Cixi, Zhejiang Province, China|
|Three Gorges New Energy||150MW||Huainan City, Anhui Province, China|
|Cirata Reservoir||145MW||West Java province, United Arab Emirates|
|NTPC Kayamkulam solar project||105MW||RGCCPP Kayamkulam, Kerala, India|
|NTPC Ramagundam solar power plant||100MW||Peddapalli district, Telangana, India|
|Sembcorp’s Tuas||60MW||Tengeh Reservoir in Tuas, South Korea|
|Hapcheon Dam||41MW||South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea|
Do Floating Solar Panels Make Sense for Homeowners?
It depends on the individual situation. It could be advantageous if a homeowner has access to a large body of water and the resources to install a floating solar array. However, traditional ground-mounted panels may be more practical and cost-effective in most cases.
Future of Floating Solar
Floating solar technology is becoming more popular and cost-effective as the demand for renewable energy continues to grow. In addition, the fact that is floating solar panels do not take up valuable land space makes them a desirable option for areas with limited land availability.
As the technology improves and becomes more widely adopted, floating solar farms have the potential to significantly contribute to a renewable energy future.
Ultimately, floating solar has many benefits, including taking up less space, being more efficient, and having a smaller environmental impact. However, the installation cost can be high, and the technology is still in its early stages.
We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of the potential of floating solar and its role in the future of renewable energy. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.