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Floating Solar Energy Transforming India Into a Greener Nation

November 13, 2018

The green solar energy is the next alternative source of energy that is being explored at an immense pace. With the search for alternative energy sources at its peak, solar energy has clearly come out as the winner amongst the other options like wind and water. The need for the search of an alternative source is all the more accelerated due to the fact that the environment needs an urgent re look, for the sake of its survival. With the waning ozone layer and adverse effect on the health of the flora and fauna alike, the need for a green energy source seems like the only plausible survival mantra for the future. Solar energy provided the way out a long time back. However, to counter the cons of solar panels in terms of the space they occupy on land, technological advancement made floating solar panels a possibility, which has been widely accepted across the globe.

Solar power is being harnessed not just for household use but also for commercial purposes. When it comes to utility-scale production, the power generation demand far exceeds household demands. This is where the alternative of floating solar energy source comes into play since such a huge production will be made possible only by a solar plant. That would be a huge space to install the plant. The resolution to this dilemma came with floating solar plant. So what is a floating solar energy plant?

Solar floating Energy Installations

These are solar plants, installed on barges, marine vessels or even over the dams. Since the photovoltaic cells or the solar panels are on water bodies and are therefore floating they are called the floating energy installations.

One of the most asked questions is how do these heavy solar panels float? The floating solar panels are of the same material as the ones made for the rooftop solar panels. However, they are mounted on material which have buoyancy and hence remains afloat.

With India’s goal of making the economy renewable energy sufficient, solar floating installations can prove to be the game changer. This is a feasible alternative for India as India has with abundant water bodies. To generate power sufficiently for large-scale utilization, approximately 15% of water bodies, if used for such floating solar panels, would be more than sufficient. This will produce an approximate of 330 GW of power. Interestingly this amount of power generation will achieve India’s ambition of achieving 100 GW of power from solar and 227 GW from renewable energy sources, conveniently.

Why is Solar Floating a need?

Solar installations need space. Even when it is a home instalment of solar panels you need that space to accommodate the equipment. Hence it is not surprising that installing a utility size solar plant will take enormous space. This is a huge constraint in India. Though the geographical location of our country makes sunlight abundant for us, the ever-increasing population and deforestation has left little barren land to be used for such a plant. Rest of the land is for agricultural usage. Hence the need for space becomes a hurdle in harnessing solar energy on a large scale. This is one of the reasons why floating solar panels are a need if India has to become solar efficient.

Installing floating solar panels has no size constraints. This translates to mean that panels as big and spread out in size may be installed for electricity production. India’s foray into floating solar panels took flight with the floating solar panel installed on the Banasura water reservoir in Wayanad, Kerala.The floating solar panel here is spread out across 1.25 acres on the reservoir.

Here is an often enquired doubted dilemma that must be addressed. What about the locations where water bodies are unavailable?  The alternative sources of natural energy include wind and water energies too. It is, therefore, either one of the energies that is abundant in the location. Solar energy, however, is being targeted more since it is more available.

Benefits

Other than producing electricity, installing floating solar panels has additional benefits too.

1) Being on the water, the panels are constantly cooled. This leads to more efficiency and productivity.

2) In a way, these panels can lead the water conservation initiatives in a big way. When such panels are kept afloat on the water bodies, they cover a large part of the water body. The panel shaded part of the water body is not heated by direct sunlight, which helps in conserving water as this prevents water evaporation up to 70%.

In fact, these solar floating panels also prevent the water from developing algae.

If looked at from the economic perspective, floating solar panels are also budgetary since the equipment installation does not require any heavy pieces of equipment or tools. Moreover, these panels which are usually installed on reservoirs, allow the water bodies to be exploited for their potential of producing electricity.

Most importantly, the material used in the whole set up is recyclable. Hence it negates any harm to the water life like the flora and fauna.

The way to a green nation

Floating Solar energy in India is a feasible proposition. Along with being an alternative to panels mounted on land, the floating solar panels are triggered by Sunlight, which is a green energy source. Here, not only is the energy source that fuels the electricity production green, but the production process also does not emit any kind of pollutant into the environment.

Solar energy used is perennial, abundant and renewable, unlike coal. Hence, with floating solar panels using Sun’s energy as the primary energy source, will never exhaust its source.

Conclusion: One of the vital contributors to the Go Green movement across the globe is Solar energy. Major economies of the world are pushing for the solar way of life. In many of the countries, solar efficiency has already become a reality.  The strain of pollution that our planet bears currently is unjustified and calls for a swift change for going heavy on green energy.

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