Floating solar power plant

Floating solar power plant

While solar power is one of the most eco-friendly and safest solutions for energy, it isn’t always considered efficient. Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing are now implementing a new technology, building solar plants that can float on water, for improved efficiency in power output.

Floating solar, also referred to as a floating solar array or floating solar farm, refers to an array of photovoltaic panels on a structure that floats on a body of water, typically a reservoir or lake.

Solar cell efficiency refers to the portion of energy in the form of sunlight that can be converted via photovoltaics (PV) into electricity. The efficiency of the solar cells used in a photovoltaic system, in combination with latitude and climate, determines the annual energy output of the system. The significant improvement of efficiency by 19% of solar panels over water has led to the construction of large scale floating solar farms in China, India, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

In addition to water volume retention, floating solar plants provide additional water quality benefits, of particular benefit to potable water infrastructure management. By shading water, floating solar farms also inhibit the growth of water weeds (that require sunlight for photosynthesis). The growth of bacteria, such as giardia and cryptosporidium, is also restricted by water temperature reduction.

The creation of solar farms on urban water supply infrastructure is generally advantageous given there are no costs usually associated with land-based solar farms (land purchase, clearing, maintenance, and insurance against flooding). Such water bodies are usually serviced with high voltage electrical wire to power water water pumps and other associated infrastructure, thus new ‘poles and wire’ grid infrastructure is not required.