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Floating Photovoltaic (Solar) System

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Engineering
Wordcount: 3627 words Published: 13th Oct 2021

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In the 21st century, the awareness of climate change has risen dramatically, due to high usage of fossil fuel in the electrical product, which have increased the CO2 Emissions in the air that impact our environment badly. renewable energy alternative resources become vital solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With this high concern for climate change. The spot recently was on Floating photovoltaic(solar) due to its efficiency and less greenhouse effect on the environment.

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1. Introduction

A system such as floating photovoltaic (FPV) more likely works like the conventional solar, that convert solar radiation into electrical power. The system attracted wide attention which leads to increasing demand worldwide for the specific system[1]. Floating Solar energy system is favourable among the other renewable energy technologies due to sustainability, equipment abundance and low price that drops in the past years. Solar radiation is a sustainable source, which is considered as a feasible system to generate a large amount of electricity, the idea of the new floating system is to use the unused water surface to cool the solar panels to reduce the heat and to increase the efficiency which will lead to more electricity to be generated[3], like artificial lakes, reservoir, irrigation ponds, dams, and canals[2]. Water surfaces on the other hands face an issue of drying due to the water evaporation. With introducing the floating photovoltaic system technology, which will provide an abundant solution to avoid around 70% of water evaporation, reduce algae to form[3].

In comparison, with conventional solar photovoltaic the general concern with the solar energy is the obligation of land which is rarely available due to cost, landlords, government policies and area issues, also heat temperature increasing on the solar parts can dramatically decrease the efficiency and the lifetime of the panels. This essay will focus on advantages & challenges on floating solar energy.

2. Floating PV component

A floating photovoltaic literally it is the same as conventional PV panels technology but its floating on the water surface. So, in this part talk about the floating structure and how to merge the solar panels on it. the floating structure contains these essential parts (Figure1) [4].

(1) Wire(pipes): The pipes are extremely strong to avoid any electrical loss, which can hold extreme load and pressure. also, it is anti-corrosion. The pipes are underwater connected to the inverter to transfers the produced electricity from land to substation[2, 5, 6].

(2) Floating platform(pontoon): Is an empty plastic with the flexibility to float. The plastics are normally made of HDPE (high density polyethylene), known for its strength and anti-corrosion. HDPE is recyclable which is a huge advantage as well [2]. although it endures environment seasons[7]. The material of the pontoon is flexible to float by it Self even with a heavy load that designed to embrace appropriate number of solar panels [2].one individual pontoon (figure 2) can take about 8 to 10 Photovoltaic panels, each has an estimated record of electricity about 250 to 320 WP referring to[2]. which assure continuity of the electricity generation by buoyancy and stability. also, pontoons linked to the anchoring system. The anchor is Rigid metal moves away the side forces of the reservoir[8]

(3) Mooring system: Simply holds the structure from drifting the ropes are very strong it's made of polyester. The idea of keeping the structure in position is to avoid environment interference to move the floating structure like extreme winds and keep the body oriented to the sun radiation. The mooring system tied to each corner of the bollards [2, 5, 6].

(4) Solar panels: Nowadays the crystalline solar PV module has still been used for the floating solar techniques. Yet as-fabricated modules used in the projects that installed on salty water will be important to resist salt mist .as any metal will rust over time and thus the perfect replacements to aluminium frames is polymer frame necessary to cope with salt mist[2]. The main issue with PV modules is overheating the solar cells, which is made of monocrystalline (mono-Si) and polycrystalline (pc-Si) silicon is light- absorbing material also it reduces the efficiency about 0.50% for Crystalline silicon, while in operation, the extreme focus of solar radiation that could trigger high temperature that can damage the cells [9]. Generally, the energy produced during a sunshiny day for normal PV can range between 12 to18 kWh/d and for normal cloudy or scattered cloud would generate about 2 to 3.2 kWp per day

(5) HYDRELIO Technology: This technology has been used by Ciel-et-Terre a French company that's working on projects worldwide (see figure 3), the new tech shows its value as the structure consider as the resistant among other structures also it does not move away, it contains light strong plastic made of polyethylene[10]. Which they named the technology Hydrelio. This light material and flexible has been tested for the fixed type of FPV system not for the tracking since the mechanical characteristic part has a floatable structure or (the buoys) are made of pultruded fiber reinforced polymeric plastic (PFRP), which is anti-corrosion that been used for marine purposes[6, 11].

3. Electrical Grid system

Floating PV system main idea is to reduce the heat and avoid any environmental effects like wind and dust accumulation.so to install (see figure5)[12] the electrical system under water its quite challenging [2]. although to convert electrical current from DC to AC there is a great solution embraced lately to use string converter for each pontoon which has the flexibility to support both transformer and compressor with small size. though a unit of pontoon structure braced polyethylene pipes can hold 4000 pounds of mechanical and electrical equipment [1]. furthermore, talking about DC cables it is the same in conventional Photovoltaic (PV) system. But on the other hand, AC cable when installing in water must be waterproof, which will lead to an increase in the cost due to time and the high price of the material to be installed for the floating photovoltaic grid connection compared with the common land photovoltaic[11, 12].

4. System and storage

The typical stored system is batteries on any grid connection, but a quite old storage system since was used in Huntorf (Germany) in 1978[7].lately the system comes to light again as appraisal used by (Energy Storage System) to different renewable energy resources that showed the CAES (Compressed Air Energy Storage) have 240 according to ESOI which stand for (energy stored over lifetime) and PHS (Pumped Hydro Storage)that evolution got 210 ,both got the highest energy stored record. Contrary lithium batteries have scored 10, according to ESOI, evidently much lower than CAES and PHS. As mentioned before The pipes required for the pontoon buoyancy which is typically made of polyethylene which is material somewhat cheap , when steel are used in the pipes as cylinders for battery storage system to be installed on the platform will be easier .generally batteries are always been used in the industrial sects because it is standard methods to store energy .nevertheless, it is costly and have short period of lifecycle, disposal and recycling which is an issues for the environment, Therefore CAES storage system are recommended. as there is many studies nor research compared the technologies which comes up that CAES storage system has a low price in the market which will impact the smart grid production in the near upcoming future. CAES promises consistency to the renewable energy resources as it is suitable for grid combination to store large capacity also to alleviate the output in the grid system this excellency of efficient energy storage technology could be a great idea to secure the grid future[13]. However, talking air compressed reservoir in consideration as if the pipes use takes place of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) pipes, the price will be increased all the studies so far is just an approximation, there is no final estimation made regarding the price yet[1, 7].

5. Costs economics points of view

Installing the conventional solar panel in land is quite a burden due to the requirement and most importantly the cost of the land. On the other hand, the floating PV is cheaper but, the most expensive part of it. is the structure which will count roughly about 25% of the total project[2].furthermore the cost of maintenance will be considered too.so depending on the scenarios and the studies. the cost will be estimated, though there are too many studies but with different variety of costs. Due to the locations and the environments impacts on the projects. Like if the system been installed on salty water will cost more than the system installed on freshwater due to corrosion effect which led to lead to replacement and maintenance. Also, the cost of the tracking floating system is higher than the normal floating system due to the anchor that should be installed at the bottom of the lake. Not like the normal floating system which will be tied to the edge[14].

6. Greenhouse emission

One of the great advantages of the Floating PV system compared to the normal PV system, is reducing the CO2 emission in other saying lees greenhouse emissions[9].some statics recorded due to studies that has been made that about 137.73 kgCO2/m2 of carbon impact when the system installed .another study that took place in Korean reservoir to show the reduction of the greenhouse emission of the floating solar PV, so the estimation was for the energy production of 3401 reservoir that been installed the floating system on it. The results came as 2392GWh of power production, though the greenhouse emission been reduced to roughly about 1,294,450 Tons per year[15].another study which took place in Kota (India) dam. The report state that the floating system of 1MW that installed can save 37 million litres of water and decreased the CO2 emissions about 1,714 tons[16]. Another estimated referring to[17]that the floating PV systems have the potential to alleviate the carbon production by 25% for a 250MW.

7. Floating PV solar vs Conventional PV Solar

Numerous examples and studies between the land PV and floating PV to compare their power energy generation including the advantages and challenges. Power electricity of a 10 kW installed for both system in Aichi, Japan according to the study the temperature rose up dramatically in the normal PV system, which efficiency enhanced in the floating PV system by reducing 9.6% of solar heat and 3% in winter[18].another study which take place in Korea located in two different town closest to each other for temperature similarity, to compare the floating PV that generate for 100kv and 500kv respectively and the conventional solar system that generate 1MV(the estimation referring to[9])took place in southeast at Hapcheon for the floating PV and Haman-gun for the conventional solar, so the breakdown of the generation performance for floating PV (100kv) and(500kv) respectively was 421kWh/day and 2,044kWh/day. on the other hand, the data for the conventional PV after being tilted by 30° has a capacity of 935.9MW, whereas it collective of 4,000 250W units has generate respectively 3,486kWh/day comparing to 100KV and 3,491kWh/day comparing to 500KV, these statics the outcome for 9 months period[4]. The electrical generation of Floating PV was enhanced by 11% .due to the cooling effect of water, which means more electrical power efficiency of a floating PV system has overtaken the conventional PV according to the estimation by Choi[4].another study took places in India and China respectively. The outcome date in China shoes that the temperature had been reduced by 3.5 Celsius and 1.58–2.00% more power generation enhancement comparing to the typical PV, due to cooling water, on the other hand in India, the date shows 2.48% power generation enhancement in the floating system and temperature reduced by 14.56% compared to normal PV system. By evaluating these studies, it is found out that FPV systems have excellent performance in comparison with conventional PV systems. However, more reports are required to evaluate the effect on the efficiencies of floating PV and conventional PV systems even though the reports on the studies show that floating PV systems can enhance the efficiency by 12%[9].

8. Advantages /Challenges

Floating solar system has too many advantages, which makes a lot of companies and countries adopt the idea of the system and apply it. the system has benefits such as lower the algae growth, reduce the CO2 emissions, reduce water evaporations. And the most importantly the system cools the solar panels which make great efficiency and more electrical generation than the conventional solar .and less price which economically great [9]on the other hand, Biggest fear is to make the system stand against the environmental obstacles, when the structure installs and nothing could occur on the system which can it handle well, for instance, the wind speed, waves and snow all these could influence the system efficiency and performance referring to [3] the max wind speed the floating system can resist is 210 km/h. and the max temperature will settle between -5 to 50 Celsius. But some issues have been solved like the corrosion on the structures. And others still understudy like to solve the installation of the system offshore due to high tide and waves. Also, Potentials of electrical accident might occur to the cables under the water[2], which will increase the cost of the operations to maintain the system to be secure. These is the issues that could be faced during or after the installations.

9. Conclusion

Generally, the system of floating PV has a promising future due to the enhancement through the years of the efficiency outcome and reducing CO2.also, economically has a great value in comparison with the traditional system. the essay showed the structure of the system and the cost that will be impacted, also the environment effect on the system structure too. briefly the system has more advantage than the disadvantages and fewer challenges when compared to the conventional solar due to the studies in the essay. The idea of floating solar been adopted by the French company which until now had installed about 180 projects [19]. The system succeeds in many areas worldwide by now and still under developing.

10. Appendix: Graphs

Figure 1 [6]: This image shows the main components of the floating solar system, grid system and the electricity transformation

Figure 2[2]: This image shows the pontoon as previously discussed in the components section. It produces energy by buoyancy also it works as stabilizer to the floating system. pontoons are hallowed and light but endure big load and linked to the anchoring system.

Figure 3[6]:This image shows the HYDRELIO Technologies that adopted by(Source Ciel & Terre) in in details of its structures.

Figure 4[2]: This image demonstrates how the HYDRELIO Technologies (Source Ciel & Terre) woks when it applied into the real floating solar project.

Figure 5[4]:The Grid system of the floating photovoltaic system demonstrates how the underwater cable transmits the electricity to the substation.

11. References

1. Cazzaniga, R., et al., Compressed air energy storage integrated with floating photovoltaic plant. 2017. 13: p. 48-57.

2. Sahu, A., et al., Floating photovoltaic power plant: A review. 2016. 66: p. 815-824.

3. Sharma, P., B. Muni, and D. Sen. Design parameters of 10 KW floating solar power plant. in Proceedings of the International Advanced Research Journal in Science, Engineering and Technology (IARJSET), National Conference on Renewable Energy and Environment (NCREE-2015), Ghaziabad, India. 2015.

4. Choi, Y.-K.J.I.j.o.s.e. and i. applications, A study on power generation analysis of floating PV system considering environmental impact. 2014. 8(1): p. 75-84.

5. Singh, A.K., et al., Feasibility study of a grid-tied 2MW floating solar PV power station and e-transportation facility using 'SketchUp Pro'for the proposed smart city of Pondicherry in India. 2019. 2(2): p. 49-59.

6. Liu, H., A. Kumar, and T. Reindl, The Dawn of Floating Solar—Technology, Benefits, and Challenges, in WCFS2019. 2020, Springer. p. 373-383.

7. Mason, J., et al., Coupling PV and CAES power plants to transform intermittent PV electricity into a dispatchable electricity source. 2008. 16(8): p. 649-668.

8. Santafé, M.R., et al., Theoretical and experimental analysis of a floating photovoltaic cover for water irrigation reservoirs. Energy, 2014. 67: p. 246-255.

9. Ranjbaran, P., et al., A review on floating photovoltaic (FPV) power generation units. 2019. 110: p. 332-347.

10. Cazzaniga, R., et al., Floating photovoltaic plants: Performance analysis and design solutions. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2018. 81: p. 1730-1741.

11. Barbuscia, M., Economic viability assessment of floating photovoltaic energy. 2017.

12. Jeong, H., et al. Characteristics of Floating Photovoltaic Power Generation Based on Probability Statistics. in 2019 10th International Conference on Power Electronics and ECCE Asia (ICPE 2019-ECCE Asia). 2019. IEEE.

13. Venkataramani, G., et al., A review on compressed air energy storage–A pathway for smart grid and polygeneration. 2016. 62: p. 895-907.

14. Campana, P.E., et al., Optimization and assessment of floating and floating-tracking PV systems integrated in on-and off-grid hybrid energy systems. Solar Energy, 2019. 177: p. 782-795.

15. Kim, S.-M., M. Oh, and H.-D. Park, Analysis and prioritization of the floating photovoltaic system potential for reservoirs in Korea. Applied Sciences, 2019. 9(3): p. 395.

16. Mittal, D., B.K. Saxena, and K. Rao. Floating solar photovoltaic systems: An overview and their feasibility at Kota in Rajasthan. in 2017 International Conference on Circuit, Power and Computing Technologies (ICCPCT). 2017. IEEE.

17. Trapani, K. and D.L. Millar, Proposing offshore photovoltaic (PV) technology to the energy mix of the Maltese islands. Energy Conversion and Management, 2013. 67: p. 18-26.

18. Ueda, Y., et al. Performance analysis of PV systems on the water. in 23rd European photovoltaic solar energy conference, Valencia, Spain. 2008.

19. https://www.ciel-et-terre.net/hydrelio-floating-solar-technology/hydrelio-benefits/[Accessed on3/11/2019]


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