The Technological Innovation and Form Diversification of FPV
Europe, Southeast Asia and other markets on FPV technology innovation are very rich. Take Mitsui Construction Co., Ltd.’s 2MW project on Shikiu Island as an example. Sumitomo Mitsui has been developing the PuKaTTo floating solar system
since 2015. The 9.7kg floating body is made of high-density polyethylene and incorporates UV absorbers. The floating body itself contains a mooring chain, which is connected together by a 2kg beam and it can be used as a channel for operation and maintenance. The space between the floating bodies is large, which is conducive to cooling. This design can be used for 60 or 72 blade batteries from various manufacturers.
Solar Duck said it launched a pilot project in April. It used a 65KW floating power station and connected to a 10KW hydrogen cell. The second pilot project is expected to begin offshore operations in early 2022.
Norway startups are also focusing on floating power structures in offshore areas. The latest floating structure was tested by an independent Norway research institute, Sintef. It was built with an anchor system. It can adapt to all levels of waves.
In addition to the structural design of the floating power station itself, there are many related innovations. Glint Solar in Norway, for example, has collaborated on an algorithm that uses wind data derived from satellites and the shape of lakes in order to calculate wind waves in multiple directions and locations to determine the best location for a floating power station. In addition, German manufacturer TG hyLIFT developed a cleaning robot for floating power stations in March. This cleaning device can also be used in ground power stations that do not require any type of detergent and only use water. The robot is currently being tested at a floating power station in Spain.
It should be noted that while floating solar systems in offshore areas are at the forefront of future development, explosive growth is expected in the future. However, there are several challenges that must be addressed. The field is still in its infancy. The data on technical design, component selection, feasibility and economics was limited. Ocean conditions present additional challenges with high winds, waves, salinity and biological pollution affecting the stability of floating structures. While there are solutions in the Marine industry that can overcome the technical challenges, they are nowhere near the cost-per-kilowatt (KWH) advantages of onshore PV station.
Standards follow the market developments.
Although there are few publicly available standards for floating power stations around the world, the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) has revealed that the standard it is studying is IEC TC82 WG3&Enerprise SG. As the world's largest floating solar market, China's standards-setting working groups, enterprises and certification bodies have been at the forefront of the industry.
The research on the influence of floating power stations on water quality is being further deepened. As more and more floating power stations come from online, people are increasingly concerned about the impact of floating solar power stations on water quality. Baywa R.E., a well-known German developer of floating power stations, is the best known for its research. The company has published preliminary findings on the environmental impact of the 27.4MW "Bomhofsplas" floating PV plant located in a Quarry in the Netherlands, which is currently the largest floating PV project outside China.
A spokesman from Baywa R.E. said: "The initial results of environmental studies show that the floating plant has not had any significant negative effects on lake flora and fauna. In addition, there is a positive message that there is less erosion along the banks of the lake. It's great to see how well our floating solar system is integrated into the lake." Baywa R.E. explains that the oxygen content of the water under the photovoltaic modules varies very little over the course of a year. The wind and sunlight still reach the water surface below the modules easily, and the deviations measured are mainly due to changes in weather conditions.
The impact of floating power plants on fish populations is still being investigated. In order to strengthen the underwater ecosystem and promote biodiversity, Baywa R.E. has reinstalled protective cages under floating assemblies filled with shells. Years of research are needed to get full test results.
It followed a similar report by a British research institute. Researchers from Lancaster and Stirling universities also suggest that solar power could in turn improve the water quality of the lake.
In order to gain more insight into the impact of floating solar energy on water quality, a joint research project, PV2Float has been launched. It was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. The three-year collaborative project, which was mainly carried out by the Fraunhofer Laboratory, Rwe and the University of Brandenburg, will test a number of floating solar systems with different designs and structures.
Rwe will analyze the German and global floating solar PV markets, while Fraunhofer will investigate the regulatory framework for floating solar, module performance and power output. Most importantly, people will gain a better understanding of the impact floating power plants may have on water quality, and have a clearer understanding of floating solar power plants through this project.
Half a year has passed in 2021. India, Thailand, South Korea, Mongolia, Greece and other markets have welcomed the launch of the largest floating solar power station or project. In China, the price hike in polysilicon in the first half of the year caused component prices to climb, and progress on other projects is slow except for several large floating power plants that have already been put out to tender in 2020. There are many small and medium-sized floating solar projects in China, but many developers are waiting for the prices of components and other raw materials to fall due to high costs, industry insiders said. It is expected that more projects will come online in the second half of the year if the component price loosens. In the long term, as experience accumulates in the floating solar market, more potential will be released.