With the threat of climate change looming ever closer, renewable energy sources have become increasingly important for providing clean, zero emissions electricity. Solar power has often been considered one of the best alternatives to burning fossil fuels – but its use comes with a few drawbacks. Land-based solar installations require large amounts of horizontal space and need substantial freshwater for cleaning and maintenance.
However, a new study has identified an alternative option: floating solar systems on existing reservoirs. These systems could provide up to 9,434 TWh per year while conserving 106 square kilometers of water annually – enough electricity to potentially provide energy self-sufficiency to 6,256 communities in 124 countries around the world.
Floating solar systems offer several advantages over their land-based counterparts. Not only do they require no land area for installation, they also reduce water losses from evaporation by blocking radiative energy and lowering water temperatures. This means that many areas where horizontal space is limited due to population density or topography can benefit from these efficient and cost-effective systems instead of having to rely on traditional methods such as coal or nuclear power plants which emit harmful pollutants like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
These systems are already being installed in locations around the world such as Fort Bragg and Cohoes in the United States, where they provide zero emissions electricity to residents. In addition, Germany’s RWE is considering a proposal to intersperse floating solar between its own wind farm towers in the North Sea. If successful, this project could lead the way for other countries looking for a renewable solution to replace their dwindling fossil fuel reserves without sacrificing efficiency or effectiveness.
That being said, there are still some drawbacks associated with solar power in general which may make it less viable in certain areas depending on availability of resources such as freshwater or land space – not just those related to floating panels. It requires routine cleaning with substantial amounts of water which can prove costly and time consuming – particularly since many parts of the world are already facing water scarcity issues. Additionally, when not properly maintained it can cause significant damage to nearby ecosystems due to issues such as plastic waste polluting the ocean or poisoning agricultural land with runoff pollutants.
Despite these inconveniences however, floating solar power still offers numerous benefits over traditional forms of energy generation based on fossil fuels, providing an efficient and cost effective alternative that can help reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide while preserving delicate local ecosystems at the same time. As more countries move towards clean energy sources for electricity production in order to meet Paris Agreement commitments set forth at COP21 (and hopefully beyond), we could see more widespread adoption of these innovative floating panel systems – leading us one step closer towards a greener future for all!
Jonas Muthoni is an entrepreneur and renewable energy expert. He is the founder of MicroGridMedia.com, a website dedicated to bringing the latest news and information about solar energy and other renewable energy sources to the public. Jonas is passionate about promoting sustainable energy solutions and educating the public about the benefits of renewable energy. He is a regular speaker at industry events and conferences and is committed to driving the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.