South Korean PV module manufacturer SolarPark Korea has supplied modules to the first floating solar PV power plant in the country, the prototype Sunflower Solar Power Plant, which uses a tracking and rotating system. According to SolarPark Korea, the tracking system rotates the PV plant so that the modules face the most sun throughout the day. As the facility floats on water, it does not take much energy to do this, just a small amount of power being used from the plant for the rotation of the entire system.
It is a 465 kWp system and around 8,000 square meters in size. SolarPark Korea supplied 1,550 72-cell multicrystalline modules for the test project. The cooling effect of the water on the modules should prove to show an additional 10% increase in energy production — when compared to a ground-mounted system.
Such floating PV power plants do other things as well. They reduce algae growth, for example. Additionally, they have the ability to merge as hatcheries for fish inhabiting the area. Due to the easy rotation and the resulting exposure to maximum sunlight, the Sunflower Solar Power Plant’s production efficiency is 22% higher than a comparable ground-mounted PV plant.
Interest in floating power plants is increasing in this country due to the South Korean government’s existing REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) being 1.5 times higher for floating solar power plants than conventional ones on land. The Korea Rural Community Corporation plans to use 5% of the country’s water surface for the installation of floating solar power plants, for a total of 4 gigawatts worth of floating solar PV power plants.
Floating PV plants have the key benefits noted above, but perhaps more importantly, they are a solution to the lack of land found in some places. In smaller island countries like Japan, they increase environmental solutions. Anand Upadhyay, reporting for CleanTechnica recently, noted that in wake of the Fukushima accident, Japan has installed renewable energy on a large scale. Recently, the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced that over 11 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity were added over the past two years. But the country is also now piloting floating solar PV power plants. Singapore has also opted for floating solar power systems. And plenty others are also jumping into this realm.
Image Credit: SolarPark Korea
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