Industry News: Floating Solar
Solar is exciting and the applications for solar energy are endless. In the Philippines, government officials have begun to look at deploying floating solar to better aid with irrigation. This technology can use space that would otherwise be useless beyond its original purpose.
The irrigation authority in the Philippines (Philippines’ National Irrigation Administration (NIA)), has previously invested in installing two solar pump systems covering more than 500 hectares in total. Construction requires less heavy machinery and has a smaller environmental impact than other renewable energies. These facilities will be maintenance free and have a lifespan of at least 25 years
making them more desirable than conventional pumps using fossil fuels. Though upfront costs for these pumps are expensive, they are an investment in Filipino futures; benefitting 273 farmers across the island, solar energy is only a help to these communities. Given the success of their initial pumps the NIA has declared investment in 333 more solar pumps across the nation to benefit upwards of 8,500 farmers
What about the other projects? What is floating solar? Floating solar is not a new technology however, it will now be seen in some new places. Thanks to developments by the Philippines’ NIA, new bodies of water may be available as locations for floating solar. So, what is it exactly? Floating solar uses standard PV cells mounted on platforms that float. These systems are very similar to what we install on rooftops and the like; however, they are more waterproof. In Norway, they are outfitting existing aquaculture infrastructure with floating PV membranes
. These systems are more malleable and work with the existing structures in the water. More like a net spread across, they are resilient to waves and wind. This is only the beginning of floating solar’s potential.
Some benefits associated with floating solar include no land loss and more efficient systems. Increasing our ability to harness the sun's energy is a step towards a more sustainable future. Building solar arrays onto bodies of water allows us to maximize energy production without taking away from land based activities. The water also allows the systems to cool themselves. As the efficiency of these systems decrease when they heat up too much, placing them in water is like a natural temperature regulator. Mostly large scale, these projects will provide for more than just a family or two. “Floating photovoltaic” is a new wave of solar technology, showing the industry's adaptability. An investment in this country's future, we look forward to seeing these technologies and where they go next!
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