Adding floating solar to hydropower plants would create an energy boom

A new study suggests there is a way to make hydropower plants produce more energy: placing floating solar panels on the reservoirs of hydropower plants. According to a new analysis of the energy potential of combining these facilities with floating solar panels, scientists calculated that these hybrid plants could meet a “significant” portion of the world’s current electricity needs.

The analysis, which was carried out by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), looked at the freshwater hydropower reservoirs currently installed across the world and their potential to accommodate floating solar photovoltaic panels on the water’s surface. These systems could be retrofitted to allow solar power to be generated during the day, while the hydropower systems store up water and energy for use during peak demand periods.

NREL estimates there are almost 380,000 hydropower reservoirs around the world that could be fitted with these floating photovoltaic systems. Although it would not be economically feasible to place floating solar panels on all those dams, the potential is clear: the solar panels alone could produce up to 7.6 TW of power annually, or up to 10,600 TWh each year, not including the energy coming from the hydropower facilities already in place. This is a monumental figure, considering that electricity demand for the entire globe was just over 22,300 TWh in 2018, the researchers say.

While we may be a long way from creating hybrid hydropower/solar plants around the world, this study does showcase the huge untapped potential that might be key to powering our future.

Solution News Source

Adding floating solar to hydropower plants would create an energy boom

A new study suggests there is a way to make hydropower plants produce more energy: placing floating solar panels on the reservoirs of hydropower plants. According to a new analysis of the energy potential of combining these facilities with floating solar panels, scientists calculated that these hybrid plants could meet a “significant” portion of the world’s current electricity needs.

The analysis, which was carried out by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), looked at the freshwater hydropower reservoirs currently installed across the world and their potential to accommodate floating solar photovoltaic panels on the water’s surface. These systems could be retrofitted to allow solar power to be generated during the day, while the hydropower systems store up water and energy for use during peak demand periods.

NREL estimates there are almost 380,000 hydropower reservoirs around the world that could be fitted with these floating photovoltaic systems. Although it would not be economically feasible to place floating solar panels on all those dams, the potential is clear: the solar panels alone could produce up to 7.6 TW of power annually, or up to 10,600 TWh each year, not including the energy coming from the hydropower facilities already in place. This is a monumental figure, considering that electricity demand for the entire globe was just over 22,300 TWh in 2018, the researchers say.

While we may be a long way from creating hybrid hydropower/solar plants around the world, this study does showcase the huge untapped potential that might be key to powering our future.

Solution News Source

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