Solar Energy is hitting the news recently and is likely to be coming to a place near you in the very near future. Literally on our back door step, the planning applications for solar farms on land are growing day by day. Land based first and now growing interest in “floating” systems.
This is a World Wide growing industry. Floating type solar photovoltaic panels have numerous advantages compare to conventional solar panels, including convenience, and energy efficiency, according to the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water) floating type solar photovoltaic panels have a higher power generation efficiency owing to its lower temperature underneath the panels compare to overland installed solar panels.
According to the agency, on an average efficiency of floating type solar panels are 11% higher compare to ground installed solar panels.
A new market opportunity lies in the expansion of floating panel type solar power system in densely populated countries such as China, India, Japan and others where there is shortage of land that can be used for the installation of overland solar panels. In addition the demand and supply gap of electricity in these regions are also high in comparison to the developed countries which interns expected to boost the market of fossil fuel free power generation technology.
The high initial installation cost in addition with high maintenance cost are two of the major restrain for the expansion of the floating solar panel market. The power generation cost from solar panels is about 10 times more costly than the other fossil fuel based technique during its initial years.
Some of the other drivers of the floating solar panel market include considerable rent or tax earned by the reservoir proprietor. One of the biggest advantages of floating type solar panels is its moveable structure. It can easily be moved in the direction of sun.
This is similar to the Solar Sunflowers being developed to concentrate energy into a small footprint.
The benefit that water gets from the installation of solar panel above the water surface is also contributing to the widespread acceptance of the floating solar panels. Due to the presence of the silicon plate above the water the temperature of water remains constant.
The constant temperature also facilitates the growth of algae and other essential microorganism in the water.
The floating solar panel can also be used in the industrial ponds such as water treatment plant of the industries and municipalities. In addition, the floating solar panels can also be installed in hydroelectric plants.
The installation of floating solar panels cannot be done in sea as the sea tide affects the position of floating solar panels continuously. In addition the high wind speed in sea also affects the power generating efficacy of the floating solar panel system.
Based on the different product type, the global floating solar panels market can be segmented as solar-tracking floating solar panels, and stationary floating solar panels. On the basis of location of the floating solar panel the market can be segmented as On-shore floating panels and Off-shore floating solar panels.
Asia pacific is the largest market of floating solar panel followed by Europe, country wise Japan, China and India are some of the major market of floating solar panels in world. Asia Pacific is also expected to be the fastest growing market of floating solar panels attributed the arability of the water resources and increasing demand and supply energy gap in developing countries in this region.
Some of the major players operating in the global floating solar panels market includes: Kyocera Corporation, GEITS, SPG Solar, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., Japan Mega Solar Power Co., Yingli Solar, Trina Solar Limited, and Sharp Corporation.
This particular floating solar power plant machinery was expanded by India’s Renewable Energy College and it is going to be implemented by the National Hydro Power Corporation, India’s national energy company. The very first of its plants will be authorized this fall.
“NHPC had contacted us for offering technical know-how and installation assistance for their proposed 50-mw plant,” reports the chairman of the Renewable Energy College, Gon Choudhury. “Each station would require around 3000 square feet of space to generate 20 kilowatt of power. There are many water bodies that could be used for this,” he added.
The project is also said to be eco-friendly and it will have a small impact on the surroundings, as Choudhury illustrates:
“The ecology of the water body is not likely to be affected much and it will also reduce evaporation, thus helping preserve water levels during extreme summer. Solar panels installed on land face reduction of yield as the ground heats up. When such panels are installed on a floating platform, the heating problem is solved to a great extent. This isn’t an ideal solution, it’s not as though we can go and cover the world’s oceans with photovoltaic cells, but it’s certainly a solid intermediary step until we get those space-based solar farms up and running.”
This project looks a lot like one of Japan’s offshore solar power plants built in 2013. The 70MW Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant was conceived as part of the move towards a more green energy area as a follow-up of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown and is located in Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture.
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