Monday, 15 May 2017

Floating Solar Panels – A Novel Way of Capturing Solar Energy

Solar energy is one of the foremost forms of renewable energy. It was seen as a viable option to reduce energy costs. Energy costs have been increasing constantly by 22% in the last five years. Unavailability of land is another factor which makes installation of solar plants tough. Luckily, a solution has arrived which does not rely on land. 

Floating Solar Panels:

Floating solar panel is a novel technology which employs the use of photovoltaic (PV) panels on water. It is an array of PV panels which stay afloat with the help of water. It has been termed as “Floatovoltaic” by Solar SPG, one of the major installers of solar panels.

These panels come in two forms, namely – stationery and tracking. Stationery panels remain in one spot, while tracking continuously tracks the sun’s position. Some PV panels stop storing energy due to excessive heat. Due to the placement of these panels in the water, they cool rapidly and are able to store energy continuously. They block the sunlight in the water, preventing any algal growth on the panels.

Trends:

Countries around the world are in a rush to reduce their carbon output. Countries in Europe and China are attempting to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels by nearly 20%. Floating solar panels can aid them in this venture. 

The United Kingdom government aided the help of Lightsource Renewable Energy, Ennoviga Solar, and London’s water utility and treatment agency, Thames Water. It employed the use of nearly 23,000 solar panels to create a solar island. It has the capacity to provide power to nearly 1,800 houses. It has an expected capacity utilization factor of 5.8 million kilowatt hours (kWh).

Market Outlook:

The floating solar panels market is anticipated to reach a size of USD 2.7 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, Inc. Near-depletion of fossil fuel reserves and novel ways to generate reliable solar power is driving market growth. Additionally, high adoption of this technology by governments of Brazil, China, and Japan can invoke market demand in the years ahead.

Stationery floating solar panel was the largest market product in 2015. It accounted for over 90% market revenue in the same year. It can continue its dominance from 2014 to 2025 on account of being a low-cost technology with lower maintenance. Japan accounted for generating maximum market revenue in 2015. Some key players operating in the market are Trina Solar, Ciel & Terre, and Kyocera Corporation.


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