Floating solar arrays
“How can we achieve greater efficiency of solar arrays using water?”
Solar panel arrays are some of the most benevolent technologies in existence. However, they can often require large parcels of land, which could be expensive and take away from the possibility of being used for other activities. So how can we use our engineering mindset to circumvent this issue? Well, if our main quandary is that solar panels take up a large amount of land, why not take them off land? Specifically, what if we were to create solar panels designed to float on water? This is the operating principle behind floating photovoltaics (also known as “floatovoltaics”), which use a specialized form of solar panels placed in water reservoirs to generate clean electricity for the local area. Floating solar arrays are more efficient than traditional models and can be hidden from the public view, but designers of such systems must take into consideration the effects of increased wind speeds over water and the local habitat. Companies around the world are already suiting to take up the challenge of implementing these systems, with Kyocera of Japan, Sonomoa clean power of California, and Infratech industries of Australia investing money to build these models.