UK’s First Floating Solar Panel Project
Floating Solar panels may be more beneficial than traditional solar installations
Floating Solar Panels on a Reservoir
Following the example of Japan, UK now has its own solar panel project up and running. The solar panels are installed on a reservoir in a fruit farm situated in Berkshire. The project consists of 800 solar panels, able to generate up to 200KW of power. The solar installation was developed by the French company Ciel et Terre. The solar panels are placed on top of a raft-like structure, consisting of joint plastic floats. This technology is already applied in Japan, where the biggest floating solar farm is currently being built.
Mark Bennett, the architect of the project, hopes that this solar installation will be an inspiration to other owners of unused water surface, and show them a way to be both environmentally friendly by using renewable energy, and profitable.
Floating Solar Panels Are Profitable
The installation of the solar panels costed £250,000. According to Bennett’s own calculations, he expects to earn £20,500 from government subsidies per year. Moreover, he hopes to save up to £24,000 per year from bills, due to the fact that he will not rely on electricity from the grid. If his calculations are true, this solar installation will pay for itself in only 5 years. Bennett also states, that he expects the system will bring him profit of up to £620,000 over the next 20 years.
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Benefits of Floating Solar Panels
According to the president of Ciel et Terre, the technology which they developed can bring more benefits than conventional installation of solar panels. Some of the benefits include:
- Lower lease and installation costs, which increases the return on investment.
- Increased efficiency of the solar panels, thanks to the cooling effect of the water.
- Preservation of valuable land, which could be utilized in some other way.
- Prolongs the life cycle of reservoirs.
Nevertheless, floating solar panel projects should also meet some criteria in order to be built. Neil Sinden, policy and campaign director at Protect Rural England, stated that water solar panels are welcome if they take into consideration the visual effect they will have on the landscape. Biodiversity and tranquility should be taken into account as well. Developers of such projects should also be able to guarantee the quality of the water where the installation will take place.
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