Floating Solar Panels - Renewable Energy Development Program

Floating Solar Panels - Renewable Energy Development Program

Nowadays, people find that floating solar, which is a relatively new concept, is a new wave of renewable energy, which will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Before we move on to why it is on the rise, we need to know what it is and how it works. According to EnergySage, floating solar is any sort of solar array that floats on top of a body of water such as a lake, a dam, a man-made reservoir. Solar panels need to be affixed to a buoyant structure that keeps them above the surface, forming an enormous floating network. As photovoltaic (PV) modules float on the surface of the water, the generated wave energy is collected. At the same time, water waves also serve as mirrors to reflect bright sunlight on solar panels, which helps to increase the collection of solar energy by 20%.

Floating Solar PV has more advantages versus ground-mounted solar PV or other traditional types of projects. Specifically, the following are some strong points to installing a floating solar array:

1. No valuable land occupancy: the main merit of floating solar panels is that their installations do not take up any valuable real estate. They are mostly located on bodies of water, such as rivers and dams, man-made reservoirs, waste water treatment ponds, which effectively prevents land consumption and allows landowners to make the best of an area. For example, for a fish pond, farmers can have solar panels work to produce electricity above water while being engaged in underwater aquaculture. Ultimately, they can take full advantage of the fish pond, reduce stress in land use and develop a commendable project that combines aquaculture and photovoltaics. "Additionally, installing solar panels out on open water reduces the need for tree removal and forest clearing, a practice used in the case of some larger solar panel installations", according to EnergySage.

2. Higher solar panel performance: when with higher temperatures that can decrease electricity generation, floating PV modules can be cooled down by the water. In this way, there will be a gain in energy harvesting up to 8-10%.

3. Ecological benefits: floating solar panels can contain the algae bloom and reduce the evaporation of bodies of water. Most important, floating solar panels are a source of clean, renewable electricity. With its popularization in a wide range of fields, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants into the atmosphere can be considerably decreased. That will make a positive impact on the natural environment as well as human health, which conforms to the goal of green and sustainable development.

To conclude, as a new wave of renewable energy, floating solar panels demonstrate great potential, considering that about 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered and at a time when exhausted land resources come with rapid urbanization. On the other hand, developers, constructors and investors should also take into account comprehensively the advantages and disadvantages, opportunities and challenges, only in this way can we move towards the sustainable development of floating solar. (Editor: Claire Jeawin)