Photo of Floating Photovoltaics on Langthwaite Reservoir (UK)

Some countries could meet their total electricity needs from floating solar panels, research shows

Floating solar photovoltaic panels could supply all the electricity needs of some countries, new research from 六合彩资料铁算盘 and Lancaster Universities and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology has shown.

We still don鈥檛 know exactly how floating panels might affect the ecosystem within a natural lake, in different conditions and locations. But the potential gain in energy generation from FPV is clear, so we need to put that research in place so this technology can be safely adopted. We chose 10% of a lake鈥檚 surface area as a likely safe level of deployment, but that might need to be reduced in some situations, or could be higher in others.
Lead author of the paper, Dr Iestyn Woolway ,  六合彩资料铁算盘

When the figures were considered country-by-country, five nations could meet their entire electricity needs from FPV, including Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Others, such as Bolivia and Tonga, would come very close, respectively meeting 87% and 92% of electricity demand.

Many countries, mainly from Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Central Asia, could meet between 40% and 70% of their annual electricity demand through FPV. In Europe, Finland could meet 17% of its electricity demand from FPV and Denmark, 7%.

The UK could produce 2.7 TWh of electricity each year from FPV, the researchers found. While this is just under 1% of overall electricity demand, it would provide electricity for around one million homes, based on the current Ofgem estimate of average electricity usage per household of 2,700 kWh.

There are currently very few FPV installations in the UK, with the largest a 6.3MW floating solar farm on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir, near London.

Dr Woolway said: 鈥淓ven with the criteria we set to create a realistic scenario for deployment of FPV, there are benefits across the board, mainly in lower income countries with high levels of sunshine, but also in Northern European countries as well. The criteria we chose were based on obvious exclusions, such as lakes in protected areas, but also on what might reduce the cost and risks of deployment.鈥

Co-author Professor Alona Armstrong of Lancaster University said: 鈥淥ur work shows there is much potential for FPV around the world. But deployments need to be strategic, considering the consequences for energy security, nature and society, as well as Net Zero.鈥

The research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation.

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