Solar Panels Floating on Water?

SPG Solar (Novato, CA), Sunengy (Australia) and Solaris Synergy (Israel) are among the companies that see a future for solar panels floating on water – on agricultural and mining ponds, hydroelectric reservoirs and canals.

In Petaluma, California, there are 144 solar panels on pontoons moored on a three-acre irrigation pond in Sonoma County’s wine country. 994 solar panels cover a pond’s surface about 35 miles north in Napa Valley, at Far Niente Winery.

Larry Maguire, Far Niente’s CEO told the NY Times, that in Napa, land is too expensive for solar. At prices of $200,000 to $300,000 an acre, it makes sense to float solar over water instead.

In other parts of the world where there’s plentiful water and sunshine, solar can be placed on the water so it doesn’t consume land for farming or mining.

Sunengy signed a deal with India’s largest private utility Tata Power, for a pilot solar project on a hydroelectric reservoir near Mumbai. Solaris Synergy plans to float a solar array on a reservoir in the south of France in a trial with French utility EDF.

MDU Resources Group, a $4.3 billion mining and energy infrastructure conglomerate based in North Dakota, is talking with SPG Solar about installing floating solar arrays on settling ponds at a California gravel mine.

"We don’t want to put a renewable resource project in the middle of our operations that would disrupt mining," Bill Connors, MDU’s vice president of renewable resources told the NY Times. "The settling ponds are land we’re not utilizing right now except for discharge and if we can put that unproductive land into productive use while reducing our electric costs and our carbon foot footprint, that’s something we’re interested in."

SPG Solar says its Floatovoltaics system is competitively priced with conventional solar. It minimizes the use of steel, which is the main cost. The company says the water’s cooling effect increased electricity production at the Far Niente winery by 1% over a typical ground-mounted system. A solar system floating on water also reduces water evaporation 70%, while inhibiting destructive algae growth by blocking sunlight on the water.

The companies believe there’s huge potential in floating solar on the 400-mile California Aqueduct. It could produce up to 2 MW of electricity per mile, according to Solaris Synergy.

They also want to turn hydro dams and reservoirs in developing countries into giant batteries. They claim that generating solar energy on a dam allows you to feed the transmission line and save water in the dam for use on rainy days or at night. 

Read the full story:

Website: [sorry this link is no longer available]     
(Visited 7,051 times, 9 visits today)

Comments on “Solar Panels Floating on Water?”

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *