Benefits and Principles of Floating PV Systems

Benefits and Principles of Floating PV Systems

In recent years, with the large increase of pavement photovoltaic systems, there is a serious shortage of land resources for installation and construction, which restricts the further development of such power stations. At the same time, another branch of photovoltaic technology, floating power stations, has come into view.

Compared with the traditional photovoltaic system, the floating photovoltaic module is installed on the surface floating body. Floating PV systems have many advantages and benefits. It does not occupy land resources. It is conducive to people's production and life, and water cooling of photovoltaic modules and cables can also effectively improve the efficiency of power generation. Floating PV solutions can also reduce evaporation and algae growth, which is beneficial for aquaculture and daily fishing.

Now, China is investing a lot of resources to develop this kind of clean energy. China has made a lot of achievements in photovoltaic power generation. Recently, China has got another world first. China's largest power generation floating photovoltaic power station officially connected to the grid a few years ago. Its power reached 150 megawatts, which can generate 200 million kilowatts a year. It is equivalent to saving more than 70,000 tons of coal. This prompted many netizens to ask whether throwing a board on the water can generate electricity. How does this floating photovoltaic system work? In principle, the technology is simple. That is, solar cells are mounted on a floating tank, allowing them to float on the water. However, in reality, there are many technical hurdles to overcome before that the technology can be used on a large scale, which is why China's achievement has attracted worldwide attention.

The technology of floating photovoltaic systems is very simple. The solar cells used in photovoltaic power generation can be built on any stable surface. Therefore, it only needs to install buoyancy materials such as foam under the solar cell to make it float on the water. It takes sufficient insulation measures to prevent short circuits caused by water. It is only in the last few years that such plants have gained traction. Floating plants are more difficult and it’s more expensive to maintain than those built on land, but what China has achieved is finding new applications for the technology that can do more than generate electricity.

China's floating photovoltaic systems are not built on a river or the sea. It is built in a coal mine subsidence area in Huainan, Anhui Province. The subsidence area has collapsed because of underground coal mining. The accumulation of groundwater and rainwater has formed a pond, but the mining has caused a lot of pollution. Almost no aquatic life exists in this pond. Only a large number of algae exist, causing relatively serious pollution. Why was the floating photovoltaic power station built in this area? This is the embodiment of the Chinese engineers' ingenuity.

In theory, floating photovoltaic power stations can be built on any water surface, but the construction of such ponds can make it play a greater benefit. After construction, a large number of solar cells will absorb a lot of sunlight, reduce the water temperature of the pond, and inhibit the growth of algae in the pond. A large number of solar cell coverage will prevent water loss in the pond. After China built the floating photovoltaic power station, a large number of planter boxes were installed around it, and water-purifying plants were planted.

Thanks to the combination of these plants and plants and the cover of solar cells, the water quality of the pond have improved over the years. A variety of aquatic plants and animals have emerged, transforming it from a dead and stinky pond into a thriving little lake, which is an example of the additional benefits that floating photovoltaic systems can bring. In theory, it can be built on any water surface, but in practice, if the flexible use of its impact on the water, floating photovoltaic power stations can make a great contribution to the improvement of water quality.

At present, China is making flexible use of this feature of floating photovoltaic power stations to build power stations with larger areas and stronger power generation capacity. For example, some experts believe that floating photovoltaic power stations can be built on the surface of reservoirs, which can not only reduce the evaporation loss of reservoirs but also obtain huge power generation. Now China is still exploring the wider application space of floating photovoltaic power stations.

Floating PV solutions can be built on a variety of water bodies, whether natural lakes, artificial reservoirs, coal mining subsidence areas or sewage treatment plants. As long as there is a certain amount of water, the systems can be installed. When the floating PV solutions encounter the latter, it can not only regenerate the "wastewater" into a new solution carrier but also maximize the self-cleaning ability of the floating photovoltaic. The floating PV systems can reduce evaporation by covering the water surface and inhibiting the growth of microorganisms in the water, thus realizing the purification of water quality. Floating photovoltaic systems can make full use of water cooling to solve the cooling problem encountered by pavement photovoltaic power stations. At the same time, floating PV systems are expected to improve power generation efficiency by about 5% due to the absence of shelter and sufficient light over water.

After years of construction and development, the limited land resources and the influence of the surrounding environment have greatly restricted the photovoltaic layout of the pavement. Even if the development of deserts and mountains can be expanded to a certain extent, it is still a palliate. With the development of floating photovoltaic technology, this new type of power station does not need to compete with residents for valuable land, but it turns to a broader water space and forms complementary advantages with the road surface to achieve multiple win-win results.