NREL details great potential for floating PV systems


Floating PV being set up in Walden, Colorado. Credit: Dennnis Schroeder/NREL

National Renewable Resource Lab (NREL) scientists approximate that setting up floating solar photovoltaics on the more than 24,000 manufactured U.S. tanks might produce about 10 percent of the country’s yearly electrical energy production. Their findings, released in the journal Environmental Science & & Technology, expose for the very first time the potential for floating PV to produce electrical energy in the United States.

While the United States was the very first to show floating PV panels– with the very first setup happening 10 years back on pontoons on a watering pond in Napa Valley, California– the concept has actually not gotten prevalent nationwide approval. The U.S. focus has actually mainly been on setting up massive, ground-mounted photovoltaic panels, and just had 7 floating PV websites since December2017 Floating PV websites are being released more abroad, nevertheless, with more than 100 websites since completion of in 2015. Japan, for example, is house to 56 of the 70 biggest floating PV setups.

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Image reveals photovoltaic panels floating on a body of water.

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“In the United States, it’s been a niche application; where in other places, it’s really been a necessity,” stated Jordan Macknick, the lead energy-water-land expert for NREL and primary private investigator of the job that produced the paper “Floating PV: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental U.S.” “We’re expecting it to take off in the United States, especially in areas that are land-constrained and where there’s a major conflict between solar encroaching on farmland.”

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Macknick and his NREL co-authors, Robert Spencer, Alexandra Aznar, Adam Warren, and Matthew Reese, quote about 2.1 million hectares of land might be conserved if photovoltaic panels were set up on bodies of water rather of on the ground. Making use of floating PV includes fringe benefits, consisting of lowered water evaporation and algae development. Spencer, lead author of the paper, included that in many cases advantages might be higher than those recorded in the paper, however that the group utilized “strict assumptions that would give us a very conservative estimate of the total potential generation and benefits.” The NREL group likewise discovered that operating floating PV along with hydroelectric centers yields increased energy output and expense savings due to the fact that of existing transmission facilities.

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“Floating solar is a new industry enabled by the rapid drop in the price of solar PV modules,” stated Warren, director of NREL’s Integrated Applications Center.”The cost of acquiring and developing land is becoming a larger part of the cost of a solar project. In some places, like islands, the price of land is quite high, and we are seeing a rapid adoption of floating solar.”


Check Out even more:
First floating solar farm in UK comes to life in Berkshire.

More details:
Robert S. Spencer et al, Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Examining the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States, Environmental Science & & Technology (2018). DOI: 10.1021/ acs.est.8 b04735

Journal recommendation:
Environmental Science & & Technology.

Supplied by:
National Renewable Resource Lab.

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