19 MAYO 2020
Floating Solar Power Plants: What Are They?
Floating solar power plants, or floating solar farms, are systems that have been installed on a body of water instead of on dry land.
When we think of a solar farm, the typical image in our mind is an array of solar panels stretched out over the ground, but the technology for installing the same solar panels on water has existed for some time now. Special equipment is used to allow solar arrays to float on water.
Research has concluded that floating systems (sometimes termed “floatovoltaics”) are actually more efficient than systems installed on dry land. Studies carried out on some of the systems currently in use have shown that a floating solar farm can have 7–15% efficiency gains compared to ground-based solar farms.
Another of its many advantages, which we can talk about in more detail later on, floating solar farms are more economical because it is cheaper to maintain them. Since they aren’t on land, there is zero risk of dust accumulating on the solar panels, and owners don’t have to worry about cutting vegetation back. Additionally, initial costs to prep the ground for solar arrays are greatly reduced.
Not all bodies of water, however, are suitable for floating solar farms. Of course, the ocean is not suited for solar farms since waves and salinity are considerable impediments to their proper function (salt can corrode solar panels). Nonetheless, reservoirs, drinking water storage ponds, and other man-made bodies of water have become excellent resources for floatovoltaics since they have calmer water and no problems with salinity.
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