Today’s Solutions: June 15, 2024

In order to get the most out of its energy, a Portuguese company’s sustainable solution stalks the Sun as it journeys across the sky.

SolarisFloat has created an innovative floating solar system that is unlike the many others that are currently stationed in bodies of water across the world. The floating island is powered by electric engines that consume less than 0.5 percent of the total energy produced, thanks to single- or dual-axis tracking. According to the BBC, the PROTEVS installation is the first to combine floating solar panels with Sun-tracking technology.

The island is currently floating in the lake of Oostvoorne Meer in the Netherlands. PROTEVS, which consists of 180 mobile solar panels, has a total installed capacity of 73 kilowatts of peak power (kWp) and may enhance energy production by up to 40 percent due to sophisticated technology that allows its double-sided panels to revolve in accordance with the movement of the Sun.

SolarisFloat’s many solutions

The company provides two kinds of solutions. The first is the PROTEVS+, which has 180 dual-axis tracking modules. It has the same dimensions as the previous project detailed above, with a circumference of 38 meters and an area of 1,444 square meters. The panels of the solar array move vertically.

The PROTEVS Single360, which operates on a single axis, is the second option. It has PV modules on a fixed slope of 10 degrees and features 360 modules. The Protevs Single360 has a capacity of 147 kWp for 410 W panels.

The PROTEVS systems, according to SolarisFloat, are modular, detachable, and scalable, with a straightforward installation process. Because the islands can be separated, they can even be combined to form a floating solar farm.

Other bonus benefits

The company claims that its solar floating farms go above and beyond the precedented positive environmental impact.

The floating structure and PV panels cast shadows, resulting in a “superficial” temperature drop that benefits the aquatic ecology. SolarisFloat states that this reduces evaporation in bodies of water by 60 percent.

Second, because of the aforementioned shadowing effect, water quality is anticipated to improve due to the reduction of algae and the reproduction of other microorganisms. This can be improved further by installing water-oxygenating equipment.

Sun-tracking solar arrays, according to Popular Science, aren’t without their limitations. The first has to do with the location. Sun-tracking solar panels will be inefficient near the Equator since they will remain horizontal all day. They must also be installed in areas with weaker tidal currents.

Nonetheless, considering the space required to set up solar farms, such floating solar farms can be quite useful in the long run. Popular Science cited a study from Leiden University in the Netherlands that evaluated the acreage necessary for solar farms – which ends out to be 40-5 times that of coal facilities and 90-100 times that of gas providers. As a result, floating solar farms are certainly an effective approach to make room for other projects that can help combat climate change.

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