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Page added on April 1, 2015

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Floating Solar Panels: A Viable Solution?

floating-solar-panels
Since 2011, French Company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions. Their innovative Hydrelio Floating PV system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs. This simple and affordable alternative to ground-mounted systems is particularly suitable for water-intensive industries who cannot afford to waste either land or water.

How it works:

The main float is constructed of high-density thermoplastic (HDPE) and is set at a 12 degree angle to support a standard 60 Cell PV solar module. A secondary non-slip HDPE float is then used to link the main floats together and provide a platform for maintenance and added buoyancy as illustrated below.

hydrelio-floating-solar-system
According to Ciel & Terre, the system is easy to install and dismantle, can be adapted to any electrical configuration, is scalable from low to high power generation, and requires no tools or heavy equipment. It is also eco-friendly, fully recyclable, has low environmental impact and is cost effective. To date the system has been installed in the UK, and a Japanese system will be installed by March 2016.

floating-solar-pv

AE News



11 Comments on "Floating Solar Panels: A Viable Solution?"

  1. Rodster on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 5:27 am 

    Pretty cool tech but can you store the energy or power your car or truck with these?

  2. Minwoo Kim on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 6:53 am 

    It’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So Floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created in South Korea. The Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when Floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water. Recently, this Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring Systems have been used in South Korea. You can see the Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System in Ochang Dam, South Korea. I N I WORLD

  3. Davy on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 7:57 am 

    Great design and great utilization of otherwise neglected space. I personally find this a high price solution to what is needed and that is low cost, simplicity, and low tech of end user AltE. That said, any AltE build out is preferable to the classic wasteful BAU build out of highways, sport stadiums, and skyscrapers as a shortish of a longish list.

  4. ghung on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 8:25 am 

    The 12 degree angle is quite low for the UK. Typically, PV panels should be angled to roughly the latitude where they are installed for optimum performance. I adjust mine seasonally.

    Minwoo Kim: “It’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants.”

    Even better, use the mooring system to orient the panels toward the sun throughout the day. The array pictured above could easily increase its production with a simple tracking system (photo-optical or clock type) installed. Typically increases production 20% – 40%, depending on season. Fixed south-oriented PV panels in the UK are largely past their peak production by tea time.

    Rodster: “Pretty cool tech but can you store the energy or power your car or truck with these?”

    Strawman question. Can the nuke plant west of me mow my pastures? Should I expect it to? And I store my PV-produced energy every day; use it at night to read silly comments on the internet.

  5. dave thompson on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 8:29 am 

    More high tech, expensive, complicated systems that do not replicate from the power produced. When someone shows that it is possible to manufacture, ship, build and maintain alternative energy production with little to no carbon footprint, the biosphere will still be screwed.

  6. ghung on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 8:59 am 

    Dave T.: “More high tech, expensive, complicated systems that do not replicate from the power produced.”

    Do nuke, hydro, natural gas plants meet your criteria? And the biosphere was screwed decades ago when we started to build all of these systems; when our population started expanding exponentially.

    What was your point again?

  7. Plantagenet on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 11:58 am 

    Great technology. Congrats to the French for this high tech innovation.

  8. Bob Owens on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 8:48 pm 

    We will have to try thousands of ideas and see which ones work. 90% of them will fail and be discarded. The few that work will then have to show they produce significant EROEI and are deployable large scale. This has some promise but I am concerned about the effects of water on the various parts. We will see.

  9. Poordogabone on Wed, 1st Apr 2015 9:55 pm 

    “High-density polyethylene (HDPE) […] is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum.”-Wikipedia
    Wonder how many years those panels on floats need to run before recouping their imbedded energy.
    How do you say WTF! in duck language.

  10. maria on Mon, 14th Dec 2015 1:25 pm 

    Hello! do you have the dimentions of the floating solar panels please? somenthing as a plan? thanks!

  11. GregT on Mon, 14th Dec 2015 3:58 pm 

    “We will have to try thousands of ideas and see which ones work.”

    There is one idea that was proven to work for at least tens of thousands of years, and that idea had nothing to do with the industrialism and human technologies that are laying waste to our one and only planet. Insanity is defined as trying the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Modern industrial society is a dead end for humanity, and much of the rest of life on Earth. It’s time to rethink our relationship with our natural environment, and that time is quickly running out. The Earth has all of the time in the world, we do not.

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