Dawn of Floating Solar Photovoltaic Systems

Floating Solar Panel

When it comes to renewable power generation, there is a huge diversity among utilities and methods through which power is generated. The employment of these sources mainly depends upon the initial cost, running cost, efficiency, reliability and cleanliness of the power source. However, in the last decade, among different methods of power generation, the method that has been in demand and a key subject for researchers is power generation through solar radiations with the help of Photovoltaic Cells; which is considered to be one of the most effective, efficient and environmentally friendly practices of power generation.

Although, the key factors behind the increasing application of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems was of them being environment friendly and essentially zero running cost as compared to other conventional power generation methods; however, over the last decade, the significant rise in population, industrialization and commercialization has led to a significant rise in the power demand and consequently have increased the incorporation of solar PV systems.

One of the disadvantages of solar-based PV frameworks is the prerequisite of a huge land region for impressive force yield. For nations, for example, China with 17% of their absolute force age attributable to sunlight, the circumstance is remarkable; as the possibility of gigantic bits of land being covered by Solar PV projects appears to be generally vexatious.

Moreover, in countries like Japan, South Korea or Singapore, solar PV systems are not economical due to the high cost of available land. This drawback diverts the deprived areas towards wind turbines and other possible solutions as to how the world can work around this obstruction. One of these ideas, which the world is already starting to resort to is the concept of Floating Solar PVs.

Working of Floating Solar PVs

The working of Floating Solar PVs is quite simple. The Photovoltaic Systems are installed on isolated water bodies such as lakes, hydroelectric dams or other unutilized water bodies. This method is a great way to reduce transmission costs if the project is installed close to the load or consumer. Moreover, it is also a great way to around the complication of competing for land use with agriculture.

The concept of Floating Solar PVs is based on a floating platform and anchoring that functions as a supporting medium. Specially manufactured HDPE as a base or supporting medium to rise the whole system above the water level.

Apart from the Solar PVs, combiner boxes and string or central inverters are some of the other contributing electrical paraphernalia that is installed on the floating platform. Whereas, the anchor can be either the shore surrounding the water body or the water bed itself. There are a few parameters to keep in mind when building the floating solar PVs to make sure variations of different locations do not interfere with the working of the PVs. Some of these include water depth, wind load, float type, and variations in water level.

Advantages of Floating Solar PVs

There are many reasons why floating solar PVs can be extremely useful for the future.


Schematic Diagram of Floating Solar PV System; Source: World Bank Group, Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore.
  • Saves Water Resource:

Floating Solar PVs can be instrumental in helping save water resources. They block sunlight which can help save the water from evaporation in reservoirs.

  • Eco-Friendly System:

It is an eco-friendly system that ensures that aquatic life can thrive under the platform.

  • Promote Land-Use Efficiency:

The floating solar PVs are set up on the water bed which means that the land can be utilized for other purposes.

  • Provides High Energy Gain:

With the help of floating solar PVs, there is an increased generation of energy. This is being used for the cooling effect of water and is instrumental in high energy generation. The power gain is increased up to 5.93% because of the cooling effect of water.

Conclusion

In the face of its relatively short history, with the first system being built in 2007 in Aichi Japan, the idea has seen some rapid growth in interest and level of worldwide investment. Large FPV plants at tens of Megawatt scale have been installed or planned, especially in China and Southeast Asia. Thus it can be concluded that Floating PV has the potential to unveil a Terawatt-scale segment growth and is primed to become the third pillar of the PV industry, complementing ground-mounted and rooftop systems.

Authors:

Director Documentation: MahaSidiqui
Co-Director Documentatio: Hunain Raza

Second Authors:

Member Documentation: Manum
Member Documentation: M. Arshhad

Editor:

General Secretary: ImanAmjad

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