The non-polluting generation of electricity is floating Photovoltaics, or FPV, which is determined as one of the hottest innovations of this era. Floating solar panels involve anchoring solar panels in bodies of water, especially lakes, reservoirs, and seas. Some projects in Asia have already incorporated thousands of meetings generating hundreds of megawatts.
Floating Photovoltaics started in Asia and Europe, making a lot of economic sense with open land, which is highly valued for agriculture.
The first modest systems were installed in Japan and at a California winery in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
A one-megawatt project requires about 1 and 1.6 hectares to make the installation on land.
The major attraction of these solar floating panel projects is when they can be built on bodies of water adjacent to hydropower plants with existing transmission lines.
There are some of the most significant projects existing in China and India. There are also large-scale solar panel facilities in Brazil, Portugal, and Singapore.
A proposed 2.1 gigawatt is a floating solar farm on a tidal flat on the coast of the Yellow Sea in South Korea, which would contain five million solar modules over an area covering 30 square kilometers with a $4 billion price tag. The system is facing an uncertain future with a new government in Seoul. President of Seoul, Yoon Suk-yeol, has indicated that he prefers to boost nuclear power over the solar floating power plant.
Other gigawatt-scale projects are moving separately from India, Laos, and the North Sea.
The technology also consists of specifically excited planners situated in sub-Saharan Africa with the lowest electricity access rate and richness in the solar panels that track the sunshine.
In countries, there are many dependencies on hydropower. Along with this, there are concerns about how power generation looks at the time of droughts, for instance. With climate change, it is estimated to visualize more extreme weather conditions. When considering the deficiencies, there is the opportunity to have FPV as another renewable energy option in your toolkit. This explanation is given by Sika Gadzanku, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. Instead of having a dependency on hydro, the utilization of floating solar panels can reduce the dependence on hydro during dry seasons.
As per the study made by the European Commission, 1% coverage of hydropower reservoirs with floating solar panels could help facilitate an increase of 50% in the annual production of existing hydroelectric plants in Africa.
There are potential photovoltaic hazards that can be seen in this section. A plant caught fire in Chiba prefecture in Japan in 2019, which impacted the FPV. Officials blamed the typhoon for shifting panels one atop another, generating intense heat and possibly sparking the fire at the 18-hectare facility containing more than 50,000 floating solar panels at the Yamakura Dam.
To barricade technology adoption, one of the significant challenging parts is the system's price. It is more expensive to construct a floating array than a similarly sized solar system installation on land. But with the higher costs, some of the additional advantages of the system exist. Due to the passive cooling of water bodies, floating panels can function more effectively than conventional solar panels. They also reduce light exposure and lower the water temperature, minimizing harmful algae growth.
Nearly 5,000 solar panels, each generating 360 watts of electricity, are now floating on one of Windsor's wastewater ponds.
All of the FPVs are interlinked. Each panel gets its float. And they move well with wave action and wind action. One will be surprised to visualize how they can just suck up the waves and ride them out without breaking or coming apart, said Garrett Broughton, the senior civil engineer for Windsor's public works department.
Solar floating plants are environmentally friendly.
Town Council member Debora Fudge supported the 1.78-megawatt project over an alternative of putting solar panels on top of all.
Fudge told VOA that they offset 350 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. And they also facilitate 90% of the power required for all of the operations for treating wastewater, for all the functions of our corporation yard and also for pumping our wastewater to the geysers, which is a geothermal field, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north.
The town leases the floating panels from the company and then makes the installation over it, which gives it a set price for electricity on a long-term contract. Windsor is paying about 30% of what it previously spent for the same power.
Windsor's mayor, Sam Salmon, marked his words by saying that it's not like we've invested in something where we're not going to get a payback. We're getting a payback as we speak. And we'll get revenge for 25 years.
The floating systems are not intended to fully blanket bodies of water, allowing others to continue the activities, including boating and fishing.
A report mentioned that they do not assume the floating structure will cover the whole water body; it's often a tiny percentage of that water body. From the visual perspective, one must only want to see PV panels covering part of the reservoir.
NREL has identified 24,419 artificial bodies of water in the United States that are suitable for the placement of FPV. Floating panels will cover little more than one-fourth of the area of each site and would potentially generate nearly 10 % of America's energy needs.
Among the sites is the 119-hectare Smith Lake. This is an artificial reservoir that Stafford County in Virginia manages as a motive to make the production of drinking water.
The author has mentioned that many of these eligible bodies of water are in water-stressed areas with high land acquisition costs and high electricity prices. They are composed of multiple benefits of FP technologies.