You may have heard about floating solar panels from the French company Ciel and Terre, who have been involved in the development of the technology since 2006. Pioneers in their field, they have come up with some fantastic solutions for the placement of solar panels. Allowing them to float on water means that they can take up more space, but also won’t cause complaints that they are an eyesore. Why is this? Because they are floating on reservoirs. More recently, the concept has moved to Britain under the company Floating Solar UK. Here, we look more at who they are as well as more information on floating solar panels themselves.
Who are They?
Floating Solar UK are actually partnered with Ciel and Terre, working to provide the UK with better means for the production of solar energy. The first site in the UK that had the Hydrelio floating solar PV system installed was Sheeplands farm, in 2014.
The Hydrelio floating PV system was developed by Ciel and Terre, who have been working tirelessly on it for over a decade. The important thing to note about Floating Solar UK is that they are the first official and agreed distributor of Hydrelio technology in the UK.
They are a company that is committed and determined to keep promoting the use of renewable energy sources. They are strong believers in energy production that result in a lowered environmental impact, and the eventual discontinuation of conventional energy methods like fossil fuels.
One of the exciting things that Ciel and Terre and Floating Solar Panels UK are working towards, is the continued expansion across the market. Currently, a floating solar panel array is under development in Japan – one that is twice as big as the one found in London. It is expected to be completed by 2018. Their presence also extends to South Africa, the USA, Israel, Thailand, and India.
What are Floating Solar Panels?
They are a new, reliable, and cost-effective solution for the production of solar energy. They are able to turn bodies of water into solar power plants, all while continuing to conserve the land and water by allowing the farm to utilise the reservoir for the generation of free, green energy. This energy is then used on-site to power the pump and other areas, saving a massive amount of energy that would have been provided by less eco-friendly sources.
The installation of solar panels on water allows landowners to increase their energy independence, but without taking up valuable space on their land. At the same time, it also helps them to unlock the full potential of any unused bodies of water. On top of this, Hydrelio installations are also able to benefit from the government’s Feed-in Tariff, so you can even make money from your floating solar panels.
The Sheeplands farm installation is made up of 800 Trina panels, all of which are assembled on the land before being lowered into the water by professional installers. The Hydrelio system is able to perform more efficiently than a land-based system of a similar size due to the cooling effects that the water has on the panels. Evaporation is also reduced as the water is shielded from the sun.
Due to the fact that the solar panels are only placed on the water found in reservoirs, there is also no disruption to the ecosystem, as any fish that live there are considered “accidental visitors”. They are also not a disruption to the birds that like to sit on the water, especially as the array only takes up around 6% of the reservoir.
The Benefits of Floating Solar Panels
There are actually quite a few benefits to floating solar panels. Here is the main bulk of them:
- Cost effective
- Return on investment is boosted by low lease price and installation costs
- Streamlined manufacturing process to ensure low production costs
- Competitive system prices
- Higher electricity production due to cooling effect of the water
- All the materials can be recycled
- Reduction of water evaporation to conserve irrigation or drinking water
- Slower algae growth thanks to the shielding from the sun the panels provide
- Low environmental impact overall
- No excavation work and no impact on water quality
- Reduced erosion of reservoir embankments due to reduced number of waves
- Easy to adapt to any electrical configuration
- Scalable from low to high power generation
- No tools or heavy equipment required
Want to Know More?
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