The Anonymous Widower

Langthwaite Reservoir

This site is the second application for United Utilities of floatovoltaics, where solar panels are floated on a reservoir.

This page on the Seaflex web site gives details of the project. This paragraph describes the application of the solar panels.

The 1 MW plant features approximately 3,700 pontoon modules and 3,520 solar panels, and the power generated will be used to run the neighbouring Lancaster water treatment works, which supplies water to 152,000 people across Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham.

There are links to other floatovoltaic projects on this page.

One project at Alto Rabagao in Portugal tested the design in extreme environmental conditions.

Seaflex appear to be a Swedish company started by an inventor of a rubber mooring system.

August 15, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

The Immense Potential Of Solar Panels Floating On Dams

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Anthropocene.

The article reviews the practice of floating solar panels on ponds, lakes and reservoirs.

I like the practice, as the two technologies are compatible.

  • The panels reduce evaporation and help to curb algae growth.
  • Floating panels are cooled by the environment and more efficient.
  • Solar and hydro power can share electricity transmission systems.

But best of all. they use land twice.

The article claims that as much as forty percent of the world’s power can be generated this way.

The article is certainly an interesting read.

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 8 Comments

Solar Canals Already Competitive With Ground-Mounted PV

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on PV Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

U.S. researchers have assessed the technical and economic feasibility of solar canals in California and have found that their LCOE is already close to that of ground-mounted solar plants. Three different project configurations were analyzed for eight different sites across the California network of canals.

It is a fascinating concept and is already been tried in India.

But apparently, California has the world’s largest network of canals.

Unlike the French system of Floatovoltaics, which I wrote about in Understanding Floatovoltaics, they don’t float the panels on the water, but suspend them with cables or trusses.

But like the French system, they do cut down evaporation.

March 24, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 1 Comment

Understanding Floatovoltaics

Floatovoltaics is mounting panels on floats, on an appropriate stretch of water.

This video, which I think from some of the words in the commentary, is shown to visitors who visit the floating solar farm at Yamakura Dam.

It describes all the advantages of floating solar and shows how this 13.7 MW solar farm was constructed.

We’ve even got a couple of these floating solar farms in the UK.

This Google Map shows the farm in the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, near Walton-on-Thames.

There is also this article in the Guardian, which is entitled World’s Biggest Floating Solar Farm Powers Up Outside London. It gives a good description of the project.

The article also states that unlike large solar arrays on land, no planning permission is required.

United Utilities have also installed a system at Godley Reservoir in Hyde, near Manchester, as this Google Map shows.

They must like the first installation, as this Press Release from United Utilities indicates that they are now building a second floating solar farm at Langthwaite Reservoir near Lancaster.

Some points from the Press Release.

  • The floats are made locally.
  • Godley is three times the size of Langthwaite.
  • Godley can generate up to 3 GWh per year.
  • It is thought that the panels help to stop the growth of algae in the water.
  • United Utilities already has 45 MW of installed solar and intends to add 22 more sites in the next two years.

In some ways, this embracing of solar is a bit surprising, as the North West, is England’s wettest region.

Conclusion

If my excellent physics teacher in the 1960s had said that it will be commonplace by 2020 to generate electricity using solar panels floating on water, I would not have believed him!

 

June 5, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | 3 Comments

UK’s Largest Solar Park Cleve Hill Granted Development Consent

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Solar Power Portal.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Cleve Hill Solar Park, set to be the largest in the UK, has been granted development consent by the energy secretary.

The colossal 350MW project will include 880,000 panels along with battery storage, and sit just one mile northeast of Faversham, in Kent, situated close to the village of Graveney.

Other points from the article.

  • Cleeve Hill Solar Park is a £450million project.
  • It is the first solar project to be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
  • It is being developed as a joint venture between Hive Energy and Wirsol.
  • It is due to be operational by 2022.
  • To complete the project 700 MWh of energy storage will be added later.

The article also contains this quote from Solar Trade Associations chief executive Chris Hewett.

Solar has a significant role to play in boosting the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. With the right policies we can expect to see an 8GW pipeline of solar projects unlocked and rapidly deployed, swiftly creating a wealth of skilled jobs and setting us on the path towards a green recovery.

8 GW of intermittent energy will need a lot of storage.

As Cleeve Hill’s developers are planning to provide 700 MWh of storage for 700 MW of solar panels, it would appear that 8 GW of solar panels could need up to 16 GWh of energy storage.

As our largest energy storage system is the pumped storage Electric Mountain in Snowdonia with a capacity of 9.1 GWh and most of the large solar developments are towards the South of England, the UK needs to develop a lot more energy storage, where the solar is generated and much of the energy is used.

I can see the following environmentally-friendly developments prospering.

  • Highview Power‘s CRYOBattery, which uses liquid air to store energy. Systems have a small footprint and up to a GWh could be possible.
  • Electrothermal energy storage like this system from Siemens.
  • Using electrolysers from companies like ITM Power to convert excess energy into hydrogen for transport, steelmaking and injecting into the gas main.
  • Zinc8‘s zinc-air battery could be the outsider, that comes from nowhere.

Developers could opt for conservative decision of lithium-ion batteries, but I don’t like the environmental profile and these batteries should be reserved for portable and mobile applications.

Floatovoltaics

One concept, I came across whilst writing was floatovoltaics.

The best article about the subject was this one on Renewable Energy World, which is entitled Running Out of Precious Land? Floating Solar PV Systems May Be a Solution.

A French company call Ciel et Terre International seem to be leading the development.

Their web site has this video.

Perhaps, some floatovoltaics, should be installed on the large reservoirs in the South of England.

  • The Renewable Energy World article says that panels over water can be more efficient due to the cooling effect of the water.
  • Would they cut evaporative losses by acting as sunshades?
  • As the French are great pecheurs, I suspect that they have the answers if anglers should object.

This Google Map shows the reservoirs to the West of Heathrow.

Note.

  1. Wraysbury Reservoir has an area of two square kilometres.
  2. King George VI Reservoir has an area of one-and-a-half square kilometres.
  3. Using the size and capacity of Owl’s Hatch Solar Farm, it appears that around 65 MW of solar panels can be assembled in a square kilometre.
  4. All these reservoirs are Sites of Special Scientific Interest because of all the bird life.
  5. Heathrow is not an airport, that is immune to bird-strikes.

Could floatovoltaics be used to guide birds away from the flightpaths?

Incidentally, I remember a report from Tomorrow’s World, probably from the 1960s, about a porous concrete that had been invented.

  • One of the uses would have been to fill reservoirs.
  • The capacity of the reservoir would only have been marginally reduced, as the water would be in the voids in the concrete like water in a sponge.
  • Soil would be placed at the surface and the land used for growing crops.

I wonder what happened to that idea from fifty years ago!

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment