The innovative floating solar panels developed by a Portuguese company are currently fluctuating on a lake in the Netherlands. The installation, named PROTEVS+, is the first to merge floating solar panels with sun-tracking technology.
The Portuguese firm SolarisFloat developed a unique system that is unlike the many installed in water bodies around the world: with single-or dual-axis tracking, the floating island is powered by electric engines that consume less than 0.5% of the total energy produced.
SolarisFloat offers two types of solutions. The first is the PROTEVS+, which features 180 modules with dual-axis tracking and the second solution is the PROTEVS Single360, which works on a single axis. It has PV modules on a fixed slope of 10 degrees and features 360 modules. PROTEVS Single360 has an installed capacity of 147 kWp for 410 W panels.
According to the Portuguese firm, the PROTEVS solutions are modular, detachable, and scalable, with an easy installation process. As they can be detached, the islands can even be merged to form a floating solar farm.
Renewable energy production is going to increase all around the world.Antonio Duarte, the lead technical engineer at SolarisFloat
“Solar installations are going to increase much more on water [than] land. Why? Because land is becoming a very precious asset.”
The solar panels island is currently floating in Oostvoorne Meer, a lake in the southwest Netherlands. Comprising 180 mobile solar panels, PROTEVS has a total installed capacity of 73 kilowatts of peak power (kWp) and provides an increase in energy production by up to 40%, thanks to its advanced technology allowing the double-sided panels to turn according to the sun’s movement.
3. Rising trend
The rise of floating solar technology is among the latest trends in the revolutionary expansion of solar PV electricity in recent years, the BBC reported. Solar PV capacity has increased almost 12-fold globally in the past decade, from 72GW in 2011 to 843GW in 2021. The technology now accounts for 3.6% of global electricity generation, up from 0.03% in 2006.
“If done well in the right place, floating solar has the potential to provide much needed low carbon energy without taking up land and whilst improving [the] water body condition,” said Alona Armstrong, senior lecturer in energy and environmental sciences at Lancaster University and co-author of a study reviewing the environmental benefits and risks of floating solar farms. “Our research shows that floating solar cools the water body and reduces phytoplankton biomass.”