Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 01

Floating Solar Panels: A Viable Solution?

Posted in Hydro Power | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power

Since 2011, French Company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions. Their innovative Hydrelio Floating PV system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydro electric dam reservoirs. This simple and affordable alternative to ground-mounted systems is particularly suitable for water-intensive industries who cannot afford to waste either land or water.

How it works:

The main float is constructed of high-density thermoplastic (HDPE) and is set at a 12 degree angle to support a standard 60 Cell PV solar module. A secondary non-slip HDPE float is then used to link the main floats together and provide a platform for maintenance and added buoyancy as illustrated below.

According to Ciel & Terre, the system is easy to install and dismantle, can be adapted to any electrical configuration, is scalable from low to high power generation, and requires no tools or heavy equipment. It is also eco-friendly, fully recyclable, has low environmental impact and is cost effective. To date the system has been installed in the UK, and a Japanese system will be installed by March 2016.


Watch the video:

What do you think? Is this a viable solution? Leave your comments below…

  • exdent11

    It would seem to be a good solution for reducing evaporation and without using valuable land.

    • Jimmy Hoffa

      i think the bucky balls are much cheaper for reducing evaporation and existing rooftops already provide all the installation space we could ever need.

  • John Atkeison

    reducing evaporation seems to be a terrific idea. I’ll bet that there is a 72-cell version in the works.

  • bpnjensen

    Absolutely. Here in Alameda County, California, USA, we have several quarry lakes that have/will become water storage reservoirs; these expanses could not only support solar panels, but could benefit from the cooling effect of the shade (algae inhibition) and the reduction of evaporation in direct sunlight. A big win all the way around.

  • Pieter Siegers

    Why use floating panels? They require more maintenance than fixed land or rooftop panels. Doesn’t make much sense to me this idea.

    • Paul Listman

      how much does maintenance cost is the question you are asking. 1 dude doing something twice a year at 12 dollars/quid an hour. Id have my teenager clean those as a chore

    • Rod Walton

      Reducing evaporation can be another benefit. We have so much underutilized land and roof space in this country it is a crime not to make better use of it. It is pretty hard to beat the basic economics of pollutionless free fuel delivered right to the site where it is used or distributed.

      • Brad Wise

        Those panels are going to generate heat. That heat goes into the water. This causes additional evaporation. I don’t think you gain much.

  • Brijesh Verma

    Great idea. They are also doing this. . Very good for our country Bharat.

  • Rex Stock

    What is the cost versus ground mounted systems? I just asked to be contacted and I hope these people follow through. There is a floating system here in the U.S. built by a small company that was bought by SunEdison and I don’t want to deal with SunEdison or any big company that demands they own and operate.

  • Russell Higgins AIA

    Very low angle dictated by support system (lowers wind load / uplift?)
    Will low angle increase snow / ice loads over land based installs, covering more of the panel decreasing output of the whole panel, low angle will decrease efficiency in Northern latitudes in and around winter.
    Wouldn’t a higher angle for max overall annual energy production, optimized for latitude, and rotating the system all day for max output (as floating system would require trivial energy to rotate, via motors from shore or lake bottom), provide best ROI.

  • Kyle Kipfer

    Everyone should check out Sultana Solar as they are a startup in California breaking into the floating solar panel business.

  • mdhome

    A most excellent idea!

  • Maya

    How will this affect the ecosystems below?

  • Murali B V

    Sir, can you give me the details of the company, please?

  • Ernesto C Del Castillo

    How much per Watt? I’d like to showcase this Hydrelio Floating PV Farm in the Philippines – asap. Pls advise.

  • Ricardo Teamor

    Wouldn’t that lead to water pollution, atmospheic pollution etc to some extent? Afterall there will be reactions with water. Also I think maintainence costs will be high compared to roof tops etc.

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