An Italian company is currently exploring the potential of using expanses of water to host solar power systems. Scienza Industria Tecnologia is developing the Floating Tracking Cooling Concentrator (FTCC) System; created for use on lakes and small basins. The FTCC system is made up of floating platforms with solar panels supported by a polyethylene tube structure. Systems can range in capacity from 20kW to 200kW.
The panels are cooled by the surrounding water that is sprayed over them, combating the heat that would normally impair the solar conversion efficiency. This cooling system boosts efficiency by 10%.
Different reflector arrangements are being trialled – a single reflector per module in one design and in another, reflectors are positioned on both sides of the panels to increase the amount of sunlight received.
The tracking system will use motors to rotate the moored rafts into a position where the panels can harvest the most energy. Scienza Industria Tecnologiasays simulations and measurements of wind load and structural forces show the forces involved are very low due to the design of the platforms.
Despite the fact that the supporting platform and cooling, tracking and reflector systems add to the cost, around €800 ($1186) per kW, this is compensated for by the increase in the annual energy yield.
Several pilot systems are being tested in Italy and Korea.
With our planet’s surface area being 70% water, it makes sense to be utilising some this vast area not just for offshore wind farms, but solar electricity generation also. Dams located on farms could even be used to generate power for farm operations rather than taking up valuable agricultural land for large solar panels.
by Australian Solar Quotes