L R AS Published on Monday 20 September 2021 - n° 374 - Categories:floating power plant

Where to place solar power plants outside of agricultural land?

Public concern about land use is growing. Large-scale solar projects are increasingly being built on water reservoirs, landfills, highways

According to one study, energy production for domestic and export purposes will increase by 27% by 2040. If spacing requirements are taken into account, an area larger than Texas is expected to be occupied. Panels can be installed on rooftops or shaded areas, but only large-scale plants are capable of meeting clean energy penetration targets

Floating photovoltaics :

Floating photovoltaics are popular on lakes or ponds where the water is calm. They allow the space to be used twice. This is the case for reservoirs, hydroelectric dams, or wastewater ponds. The panels reduce water evaporation and prevent the spread of unwanted algae. The water mass provides a stable thermal volume that slows down the degradation of the panels.

Floating plants have specific anchoring and mooring requirements. This results in slightly higher investment costs (10-15%) than for a ground-mounted plant, but lower operating costs and higher efficiency, which reduces the cost differential.

Landfill and brownfield PV :

The US Environmental Protection Agency has seen an 80% increase in installations on these sites over the past five years. Most sites are owned by municipalities or private individuals. Approximately 1.5 GW of the 1.8 GW of installed capacity falls under these ownership structures. Two thirds of the projects sell electricity back to the grid, and 22% of the sites are community solar projects. Nearly 70% of these installations have a capacity of 1 MW or more.

Photovoltaics on motorways :

Highway areas offer easy access to adjacent solar installations. Often the transmission lines follow the line of the motorways. The rights-of-way have well-maintained vegetation and few trees. However, safety must be ensured. This includes glare from panels, snow, safety of drivers in case of collision and safe access for maintenance.

New innovations are being introduced such as panels to create a noise barrier. The panels are covered with a transparent sound-absorbing layer which, according to the researchers, reduces energy production by about 30%.


PV Magazine of 13 September 2021

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