Floating Solar Island Concept
Remember the Solar Lily Pads? Well, Swiss inventor Thomas Hinderling has taken that idea to the next level with his solar islands concept (check out the video). The 5km wide, 20m height island concept would be mobile and would adjust according to the sun’s movement across the sky. Each island would generate hundreds of kilowatts of electricity that would be almost five times cheaper than current electricity rates. A company called CSEM is financing construction of a prototype this year in the United Arab Emirates, and they are hopeful that full production of these islands could begin as soon as 2011.
Advantages of Solar Islands
5 times lower cost per kWh than competing systems, because:
- Extremely simple low-cost EFC type panels can be used.
- Alignment achieved by simply turning the platform (no costly precision mechanics), the active area of panels can be more than 95% of the available area.
- Very low sensitivity to wind, so that high up times are feasible.
- The platforms are hovering, therefore very large platforms can be build.
- The thermal principle allows to store energy, so energy can also be supplied at night.
- The active area of panels can be more than 95% of the available area.
Additional Advantages of Solar Islands on the Sea
Typically near the equator where the solar irradiation is very intense.
- Water, needed to generate hydrogen and cooling is available in abundance.
- Combination with water desalination is easily possible through collection and passive evaporation.
- In international waters, prime locations are open to all nations.
- The platforms can “follow the sun”, gaining 15% of efficiency.