What is floating solar power plant? Land space is limited and expensive, and using it to build solar farms may “create tension with farmers, conservationists, and other groups,” according to NASA. Floating solar farms could be a viable alternative. They are solar panels put on the surface of lakes, reservoirs, industrial ponds, or near-coastal locations. They are officially known as floating photovoltaic systems, or floatovoltaics for short. Let’s take a closer look at this technology and see how do floating solar panels work?

What is Floating Solar Power Plant?

JAN23what is floating solar power plant
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Any type of solar array that floats on top of a body of water is known as floating solar, also known as floating photovoltaic (FPV) or floatovoltaics. Solar panels must be attached to a buoyant framework that keeps them above the surface of the water. If you see a floating solar installation, it’s most likely in a lake or basin where the waters are calmer than the ocean. Floating solar structures are also commonly installed on big, man-made bodies of water, such as reservoirs. They are made of anti-rust material and are buoyant, with polyethylene holding two and a half times its weight.

Floating solar is an emerging technology. In 2008, the first patents for this type of technology were issued. Since then, floating solar has primarily been deployed in China, Japan, and the United Kingdom, but it is swiftly gaining appeal in the United States, particularly in California and New Jersey. After this, let’s see what is floatovoltaics.

What is Floatovoltaics?

Ever heard of the word floatovoltaics then you must have wondered what is floatovoltaics. Floatovoltaics, sometimes known as Floating PV, is a revolutionary technology for installing solar panels on a body of water rather than on land. The solar panels are modular and installed on floating platforms. They can be combined to build a larger structure or float as independent modules with a fixed geometric configuration.

Because the surrounding water acts as a natural cooling to the panels, the efficiency of these floating structures is predicted to be 8-10% higher than that of land-based solar plants. This enhances efficiency and overall energy yield. A floating panel, in addition to making good use of the surrounding water, provides shade, reduces algae growth, and aids in the reduction of evaporation. Floatovoltaics can also use wastewater bodies to put solar panels, freeing up valuable real estate.

Also Read: How Does Active Solar Energy Work?

Do Floating Solar Panels Work? How Do Floating Solar Panels Work?

If you are confused do floating solar panels work accurately or not? Yes, they do. Because of the cooling impact of the water, floating solar power generating systems often create more electricity than ground-mount and rooftop systems. Because the PV system is installed on a sea surface, it avoids all land acquisition and consumption concerns.

Let’s move further and figure out how do floating solar panels work. Floating power plants have PV solar panels installed on top of water bodies such as lakes, dams, or any other calm body of water.

The floating solar power plant’s solar panels are firmly attached to buoyant structures to keep them afloat on water bodies and get enough sunlight throughout the year. Underwater cables carry electricity from these panels to power plants.

Also See: In Deep Water: How Today’s Technology Can Localize and Restore Urban Water Infrastructure

What are the Advantages of Floating Solar Power Plant?

To know what the advantages of floating solar power plant have a look below.

1. Enhancements to Efficiency

Solar panels are long-lasting and can operate in extreme temperatures. Higher temperatures, as with other electronics, resulting in decreased power outputs. As the temperature rises, so does the performance of solar panels. The bodies of water where floating solar arrays are located help to cool the solar equipment, which improves the performance of solar panels by 5-10%. This translates into huge cost reductions over time.

2. Environmental Advantages

Floating solar panels can undoubtedly contribute significantly to healthier ecosystems. Water not only cools solar equipment, but it also works the other way in floating solar installations. The floating solar panel arrangement provides shade and lowers evaporation in these ponds, reservoirs, and lakes. Floating solar panels generate clean, renewable electricity. The usage of floating solar systems reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere, which benefits both the natural environment and human health.

3. Installable in Existing Power Plants

Most hydroelectric facilities are constructed with a dam that holds excess water, creating an artificial lake, such as Lake Mead in Nevada. These lakes are ideal for floating solar panels to sit on the surface, integrating two clean energy sources at the same time! These panels can then take advantage of the existing connections that transport electricity to the grid from the nearby hydroelectric plant. After this, let’s learn about the disadvantages of floating solar power plants.

What are the Disadvantages of Floating Solar Power Plant?

To know what are the disadvantages of floating solar power plant have a look below.

1. Costs

Floating solar installations may be more expensive than other forms of solar panel installations. Because this is a relatively new technology that necessitates specialist equipment and a more specific installation experience, the price is usually greater.

2. Applications

Floating solar panels are not for everyone. The vast majority of floating solar installations are large-scale and power utility corporations, huge communities, businesses, or municipalities.

3. Possibility of Disrupting Aquatic Life

While this is not yet proven, solar panels have the potential to disrupt aquatic life by preventing the sun from reaching the full water surface. Furthermore, the panels and equipment used to secure them can endanger animals who are unaware of what they are or take up room in their environment. The biggest negative element of floating PV systems is the possible environmental impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife. However, if floating solar panels are installed on man-made lakes and reservoirs, these sites are not as diverse in species as a natural lake, making them an excellent choice for floating solar panel installations. After this, let’s learn about world largest floating solar power plant in which state.

Also See: 5 Major Agrivoltaics Disadvantages

World Largest Floating Solar Power Plant in Which State to be Built?

The world’s largest floating solar project, announced by an Indian state government, would begin operations in 2022-23. The Madhya Pradesh government announced the construction of a 600MW capacity facility on the Narmada River. The floating panels will be deployed in the Omkareshwar dam’s backwaters and will span roughly 2000ht of water area in the Khandwa district.

When the dam’s water level drops, these panels will be able to autonomously alter their position. Furthermore, the state government has published a tender for the investigation of the project’s environmental and social impacts.

The floating solar complex will be built to endure heavy waves and floods while still producing solar power. In collaboration with the World Bank, a feasibility assessment for the project was done. The International Finance Corporation, World Bank, and Power Grid all agreed in principle to provide financial assistance. The Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company has agreed to purchase 400MW of the floating solar project’s energy.

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Olivia is committed to green energy and works to help ensure our planet's long-term habitability. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and avoiding single-use plastic.

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