The vast majority of solar photovoltaic plants are located on the earth’s surface. Sometimes, terrestrial ecosystems are affected by the inclusion of these solar plants; but technology and innovation has brought about attractive projects for solar energy such as a floating solar plant.Backyard Revolution is one of those DIY Solar power plant projects which you can try it out your self
What is a floating solar plant?
It is a plant with multiple photovoltaic solar panels that are built on the water to supply electricity to the grid.
Because this type of floating solar plant is on water, it allows the panels to be cooled, how? by maintaining a lower ambient temperature around the solar panels.
This means that it limits the long-term degradation of its structure and at the same time helps increase its efficiency by up to 11%.
In fact, according to studies, a floating solar plant is more efficient than those installed on land.
A floating solar plant, besides being simple, affordable and durable, can be installed in large water areas such as lakes, reservoirs, ponds, irrigation channels, among others.
In places where water is dammed, organizations and companies could benefit from this technology.
This new technology has grown in countries such as Japan, China, the Netherlands and Spain who have developed similar projects.
Advantages of a floating solar plant:
- Saving large areas of land.
- Higher energy production compared to panels installed on land.
- Reduced maintenance costs.
- In case the floating solar plant is located in dammed waters, the same solar energy that is produced can be used for the operation of aerators and devices that allow the circulation of water in order to oxygenate it and keep it in good condition, which leads to less use of chemicals and obviously less maintenance.
- The floats that support the solar panels are made of HDPE plastic which are easy to install and 100% recyclable.
- The average lifespan of a floating solar plant is approximately 30 years.
- Resistance to earthquakes and seismic movements
- They are designed to withstand winds of more than 190 km/h.
- And, last but not least, they supply clean electricity to thousands of homes.
Solar floating plants “attractive solar energy projects”
The world’s largest floating solar power plant is located in China in Huainan City – Anhui Province and has a solar energy production capacity for the local grid of 40 megawatts.
Sungrow Power Supply Co. has been commissioned to develop this project in China.
As China is a very populated country, it will not make use of land to install solar photovoltaic panels.
Instead, it decided to use a lake which was created from rainwater and had previously been used for intensive coal mining operations. This lake is one of the main contaminants for the plants that work with the mineral.
This floating solar plant can supply 15,000 homes with 166,000 solar panels, and is currently considered the largest producer of solar energy in the world.
Renewable energy accounts for more than 10% of energy use in China and is set to increase in the coming years, according to information provided by the National Energy Administration.
Holland has also joined in the construction of a solar plant floating on the sea.
Allard van Hoeken, head of Oceans of Energy, which is a company that is part of the development, said that “What we will do with this project has never been done before”.
It is a challenge because wind and wave forces can be destructive, which is why they have not been implemented before.
The project translates as “the sun in the sea” (“Zon-op-Zee”), its development is planned to be carried out by 6 companies and specialized research centers, which will work for 3 years to materialize it.
The Dutch business agency (RVO) has also joined in and decided to financially support this initiative.
In addition to the company mentioned above, they are also involved:
-Netherlands Energy Research Centre (ENC).
-Netherlands Marine Research Institute (MARIN).
-The research organisation TNO of the specialist company TAQA based in Abu Dhabi.
-The University of Utrecht.
Hoeken, also noted that 6 out of 10 people live in areas close to the waterline and that this is one of the reasons why it is expected to create a positive and lasting impact for the entire world.
And in order to evaluate its functionality, progress and production, Utrecht University will be in charge of comparing the production of this floating solar plant with those produced on land.
Just over a year ago in Spain, two floating solar plant projects were implemented in Murcia.
1) The first floating solar plant was an initiative of the Murcia Intelligent Irrigation Plan. It has a power of 390 kW and it was built by the company Esfera Solar and its technology.
2) The second project is by Ferrovial Agromán, also located in Murcia, in which 740 photovoltaic modules with a power of 90 kW were installed.
Without a doubt, the Netherlands is among the countries most aware of renewable energies in Europe. In addition to this, it has a traditional innovative spirit in architecture.
The result in this case is a major project. The company GroenLeven will build a 48 MW solar plant on water.
It will be the largest floating solar plant in Europe and one of the largest in the world. GroenLeven, which specialises in the construction of such plants, has taken on a pioneering project, albeit on land.
At the moment, there are hardly any initiatives in Europe that take the panels off the coast.
But this facility will be diving in hard. The floating solar plant will have the capacity to supply electricity to 13,000 homes. But this will not be its first task.
The construction company Kremer Zand Grind has commissioned the plant.
The plant will be located in the northeast of the country. The area is part of a former sand mining area owned by the company.
The electricity will have to be distributed, therefore, to the activities of the sand industry, which sustains industrial operations on the site.
Renewable energy on water
It is becoming increasingly common to install renewable energy plants on water. Solar panels and wind turbines sequester a small portion of the sea or a lake instead of being installed on land.
The idea is to take advantage of a part of the area that cannot be used for agriculture or other productive purposes.
30 solar plants on water.
The world’s first floating solar plant on a mine tailings dam is inaugurated in Chile.
At the Los Bronces mine in Paine, an island of 256 photovoltaic panels was installed that, among other things, allows clean energy to be injected into the workings, gives use to infertile surfaces and helps prevent the evaporation of wastewater that is reused in the system.
According to a March 2018 report by the National Geology and Mining Service (Senageomin), there are 740 mine tailings deposits in Chile, either dams or reservoirs, where the waste from the operations is deposited: water, chemical process waste and crushed rocks.
However, it is not uncommon for these areas to be used for other activities, and in recent years efforts have been made to find potential for them.
Along these lines, the Chilean company Lenergi, representing France’s Ciel et Terre, worked with the mining company Anglo American to install the world’s first floating solar plant on a tailings dam, which covers 50 hectares.
This pilot plan, which will be evaluated during a year, began to be assembled last January 15 and is already operational in 1,200 square meters of the Las Tórtolas shaft sector (0.2% of the total lagoon) of the Los Bronces mining company, in Colina.
The project consists of an island formed by 256 photovoltaic panels, of 330 watts of capacity each, which together will manage to generate 86 kilowatts per hour (kW), that is to say, 150 thousand kWh/year, which is equivalent to the electricity consumed by 70 houses.
But apart from the production of non-polluting energy, which is reinjected into the company’s own system, this technology provided some solutions to problems in the sector.
For example, it allows CO2 emissions and the rate of water evaporation to be reduced. The latter is vital for Los Bronces, as it makes 70% to 80% of the process water recirculate.
I think this is a great initiative and one that other companies should incorporate.
Patricio Chacana, vice-president of operations at Los Bronces, explained that the island’s anchoring system resists winds of up to 210 km/h and can adapt to an increase or decrease in the level of the tranque of up to 25 meters.
He also pointed out that the panels allow “the evaporation of 30 litres per second to be saved”.
Rodrigo Cristi, general manager of Lenergie, indicated that the investment was 250 thousand dollars ($167,925,000) and that it was not necessary to install special floats for the island, since the studies that were made in the place showed that the PH of the water of the tranque is basic and not acid, as one could think.
Today, floating photovoltaic plants are used in other countries like Japan, China (which has the largest in the world), France and soon the Netherlands, which will build the first one over the sea.
Brazil inaugurates its first floating solar photovoltaic plant
The floating plant, which has 11,000 square meters and 3,972 solar panels, will transform sunlight into electrical energy. It is a first project of the federal government, which aims to install solar panels on water mirrors.
Rio de Janeiro. On Monday, Brazil inaugurated its first floating solar photovoltaic plant, located on a dam in the northeast of the country and which has the capacity to generate 1 megawatt peak (Mwp) of energy.
The Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, was in charge of inaugurating the floating solar energy generation plant, which is anchored in the dam of a hydroelectric plant of the state-owned Compañía Hidroeléctrica del San Francisco (Chesf) in Sobradinho, a municipality in the state of Bahia (northeast).
Read more: Produce electricity yourself.
The floating plant, which has 11,000 square meters and 3,972 solar panels, will transform sunlight into electrical energy.
It is the first project of the federal government, which aims to install solar panels on water mirrors, to attract private investment and promote tenders for renewable energy generation.