Solar panels take up a lot of space, but Israeli company Solaris Synergy (working with French EDF Group) have found a solution: placing floating solar panels on inland bodies of water. The project, called AquaSun, would not only see the panels placed on lakes and reservoirs, but the panles would use the water as a cooling system.
AquaSun’s panels are made from silicon cells, which may be cheap but are also prone to inefficiency caused by overheating. However by installing them on bodies of water, this mitigates the problem. The floating panels, which would generate 200kw of clean energy, would also be adaptable to a region’s energy requirements with panels being added and removed when needed.
Now we know what you’re thinking: what effect would the solar panels on the ecosystems within lakes and other bodies of water? Would they literally cast a shadow on local wildlife? Well, according to Solaris this would not be a problem as AquaSun would not be installed in “ecologically-sensitive areas or in open seas.” Instead they would be installed on reservoirs that are used for agriculture and industrial purposes.
A prototype has been designed and is set to be presented at the 4th International Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference in Israel. Current plans aim to see AquaSun installed for a nine-month test period in a basin at a hydro-electric facility in southeastern France by the end of September.
Time will tell whether AquaSun delivers the goods, but its good to see renewable companies floating new ideas.