First floating solar farm in UK comes to life in Berkshire

First floating solar farm in UK comes to life in Berkshire

Solar panel farms raise concerns about tying up valuable farmland. Is there another way to generate solar power without tying up large tracts of land? French company Ciel et Terre has an interesting approach that involves floating solar arrays on reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals or remediation and tailing ponds. Their platform has led to the UK's first floating solar farm, namely a solar array at a farm in Berkshire.

The floating , said the BBC, involves 800 panels mounted on plastic floats installed on a reservoir at the Sheeplands Farm in Berkshire. The farm is located near Twyford in Berkshire and in rolling countryside next to the River Loddon. Reports said that it cost the farm £250,000 for the project, and the owner set up a company, Floating Solar UK, to distribute the technology in the UK. Farm owner Mark Bennett said, "We are a fourth-generation farm so we have had to diversify, because it's hard...This green energy [provides] another revenue stream," according to the BBC. He is using Ciel et Terre's modular Hydrelio system. and he hopes to further ignite interest in the benefits of the technology in the UK. Emily Gosden, energy editor of The Telegraph, wrote about the floating technology, and had a quote from Bennett who said, "We are speaking to big utility companies, to agricultural companies - anyone with an unused body of water. The potential is remarkable."

"Thanks to the cooling effect of water on PV panels, our systems produce more energy than land-based systems of a similar size," said the company. Hydrelio has a 30-year lifetime, according to the company site. Ciel et Terre plays an active role in the photovoltaic solar market, and manages all aspects of the development process with design, engineering, financing, legal, construction, operation and maintenance services. They operate and maintain 55 plants and are expanding activity worldwide, said the site.

Sheeplands Farm 200kW Floating Solar

By lowering the water temperature and reducing the size of the water area exposed to air, floating can reduce water evaporation by up to 33 percent on natural lakes and ponds, and by up to 50 percent on man-made facilities, according to Ciel et Terre. Hydrelio, they added, can withstand up to 118 mph winds and changes in water levels of up to 20 feet.


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Oct 02, 2014
Nice. It would be interesting to see if this has any effect on the oxygen level in the lake
(could be worse due to less turbulence because the surface area is shielded from wind leading to stagnant water, or better due to cooling effect since cooler water can absorb more oxygen)

Wiith the small percentage of the lake being covered I'd expect not much of a change. However if one were to plaster over an entire lake there may be an (unwanted?) side effect.

Oct 02, 2014
@antialias_physorg

Shouldn't lake water be exposed to sunlight to remain with minimal microbial? . Floating solar panels would make better utility on sea water may be- but lakes used for agri should not entirely be covered.

Oct 02, 2014
Shouldn't lake water be exposed to sunlight to remain with minimal microbial?

It's a bit difficult to answer that one. UV kills microbes, but sunlight also heats up water - which reduces oxygen solubility and increases the chance of algal blooms.
But the effect may be too small to have any impact. In this case we can just wait and see (as any change will be quickly reversible by dismantling part of the structure)

I agree that entirely covering lakes is probably not a good idea (there's also wildlife to consider which needs access to water sources).
Optimal places would be in lagoons with sufficient wave motion to ensure a good water turnover but protection from large waves - but those places are few.

Oct 02, 2014
Fish would love that; They could cool their backs...particularly during party time!
When Ice collects over it...It sure will descend down like a parachute.

Oct 02, 2014
A giant waterwheel,geared to run electric generators fed from a higher elevation would do the job better, it would work 24 hours a day 365 days a year for hundreds of years with very little maintenance. It would also take up less land, not depend on the sun or wind,or kill wildlife. The wheel itself, because of its size would create new jobs through tourism, hotels, restaurants etc because everyone would want to see this giant of technology. see more at "wheelelectricity"

Oct 02, 2014
Yeah, we can finally find a use for Lake Ponchartrain, which has become so polluted that swimming in it is forbidden.

This lake could be almost totally covered in panels like this.

I also thought fo building a structure across the entire right-of-way on roads, which would be a covering of solar panels over the road like a roof top. It would be 30 to 40 feet high to provide clearance and enough light for driving.

Benefits:
-Dual use of the same land without increased risk.
-Shades the road, decreasing heat wedging and stress, increasing the lifetime of the road.
-Shades cars, decreasing AC usage and increasing fuel efficiency.
-battery storage for night lights.
-ties into smart grid to feed nearby homes and businesses, or the "main" power lines.
-partially oriented based on latitude for max eff.

Northern climes:
-Has an electric sweeper brush on it (like at the car wash), which regularly sweeps off snow, which means you'd no longer need as many snow plow to clean the road below.

Oct 02, 2014
Because of the savings discussed, this system would be expected to pay for itself (in terms of macro-economics) even faster than the monetary value of the electricity it produces.

useful locations:

Especially on any east-west oriented highway or interstate road, and also could be adapted to north-south oriented roads, but would have less effective coverage due to incident angle of sunlight. You'll have to play with some squares in your hand to see why.

Energy companies:

This is eventually worth multi-trillion dollars if you did this in a cooperation with federal, state, and local governments, because it's a win/win for everyone.

Main concern:

1, Hurricane/tornado. should be used far enough inland to not experience sustained winds above category 3 force.

2, Massive Blizzard. Could be too much snow too fast to clean, but presumably with them being partially oriented, they could dump the snow off if it gets too heavy.

3, It's not good in downtown locations with high-rises.

Oct 02, 2014
But my idea would be excellent for normal highways and roads connecting cities to one another, or connecting cities to suburbs, as these roads don't have a lot of high buildings around, and typically don't have a lot of close, high tree lines either.

Think of building this over the Causeway. You'd lower heat/frost stress maintenance costs on the bridge immensely. Unfortunately, this is in a category 3-5 wind speed potential, so it's out of the question. But this COULD be very useful in many inland locations where such powerful storms don't happen as often on such a large scale.

I see this as infrastructure, and government has typically developed infrastructure in this country. It's why our economy and businesses prosper so much.

Since it's already public/government land, it may as well be used to it's max potential, and I can think of nothing better to do with it besides harness ~150 watts per square meter, which is currently being wasted, and detrimental to road and cars.

Oct 02, 2014
I find that on a typical 60ft right-of-way (18.27m) you can harness 2.7megawatts peak power per kilometer of road and road right-of-way you covered in this manner. That is enough to power 1000 homes, which in most cases is a heck of a lot more homes than exist along the 1km stretch of road.

During the day, this power could go to industry, or commercial buildings, or stored in batteries in your home, or recharging electric cars parked at work, etc.

this idea solves so many problems at once that it's really quite amazing.

It can be 20 degrees cooler in the shade during the summer. Imagine fewer heat strokes, fewer stalled engines, less running the ac. Less glare from the sun, so you drive safer.

I can think of benefit after benefit for this structure.

If you ran this for 10 miles along a desert road in Texas, that's 27 megawatts. 100 miles? 270megawatts.

They could power the whole state at the very least during the day, on this alone, maybe night too.

Oct 02, 2014
A giant waterwheel,geared to run electric generators fed from a higher elevation would do the job better,

Waterwheels are inefficient, turbines are better.
But it's not a limitless power source, since it is dependent on the amount of water that replenishes the upper reservoir (rain, runoff from glaciers, feeding rivers etc. ) so you can't use it to generate arbitrarily large amounts of energy. Over long periods of time you can't take more energy out, on average, than these sources add.

And it's already being made use of in most places where such an elevation difference exists. So there's very little additional capacity that can be built. E.g. in germany most every such reservoir/river is tapped which makes up about 3.3% energy production. It's good because it's very cheap (that's why it got developed first) but it's not enough to make up a sizeable chunk of total energy production on its own. That's why we need wind and solar, too.

Oct 02, 2014
we can finally find a use for Lake Ponchartrain, which has become so polluted that swimming in it is forbidden.


Skippy, I knew you were a not too smart couyon making stuffs up off the top of your head. But now you into something I know a WHOLE LOT about. You don't even know how to spell PONTCHARTRAIN.

Pontchartrain is good for swimming most places. There ain't no rules forbidding swimming except some temporary ones here and there, and the ones about swimming in places it is dangerous because of currents and traffic. Pontchartrain is a lot cleaner than it is has been in 50 or 40 years and getting cleaner all the time.

The problems is not so much because of pollution, the problems is because of the loss of wetlands with salt incursions. The over harvesting of food species. And the invasion of non-native species of plants.

This lake could be almost totally covered in panels like this.


Yeah, I can see that. 650 square miles of panels. Better get started couyon.

Oct 02, 2014
Returners, I like your idea. The classic problem with solar cells has been cost, limited lifetime (25 years), intermittent power generation and lack of a good storage method for the electricity. On a desert road in Texas, wouldn't it be much cheaper just to put the solar cells in the desert than over top of a roadway?

Now, what would work would be to replace every single type of roofing material with solar cells. You would generate plenty of electricity and it would not cost anything more that the cost of the "solar shingles". Hopefully we will get somewhere useful with this technology in the future.

Oct 02, 2014
Shouldn't lake water be exposed to sunlight to remain with minimal microbial?

It's a bit difficult to answer that one. UV kills microbes, but sunlight also heats up water - which reduces oxygen solubility and increases the chance of algal blooms.
But the effect may be too small to have any impact. In this case we can just wait and see (as any change will be quickly reversible by dismantling part of the structure)

I agree that entirely covering lakes is probably not a good idea (there's also wildlife to consider which needs access to water sources).
Optimal places would be in lagoons with sufficient wave motion to ensure a good water turnover but protection from large waves - but those places are few.


It be handy to know how much energy it would take to replenish oxygen (assuming it depletes oxygen) in the water. If its a fraction of the energy the panels produce, then its win win.

Oct 02, 2014
LrrKrrrr

If you had looked you would have found that there are already much more ingenious ways of using this space for solar power.
http://www.solarr...ro.shtml

"SolaRoad is a system being developed by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the Ooms Groep, Imtech and the Netherlands province of North Holland.[4] They plan to install their panels on 100 m of cycle path in Krommenie, Netherlands in November 2014.[5] A variant concept of a "solar road" installed in Avenhorn, by Ooms Avenhorn Holding AV, uses asphalt and tarmac to absorb the sun's rays and heat water for use in domestic heating.

"The Solar Roadways company of Idaho, USA, is developing a prototype system to replace current roads, parking lots, and driveways..."

-Much cheaper, much cleaner, much smarter. So much for your ad hoc notions eh?

Oct 02, 2014
Ghost.

It doesn't make sense to spend money on something yuo are going to drive on.

That system has been debunked by people online as inferior to normal energy systems.

-You are driving on a piece of technology, which makes no sense as it introduces risk and wear and tear.

Point 5, in square brackets, is potentially good, but the rest of that is garbage, and has been shown to be infeasible due to wear and other factors.

Oct 02, 2014
Yeah, I can see that. 650 square miles of panels. Better get started


That's the point, Gilligan, it's at low latitude compared to most of the nation, so it's a high incidence angle.

A quarter of that area covered in panels would be 75gigawatts of peak power, and you'd have to admit it wouldn't interfere with anything significant regarding any use of the Lake.

The same would be true for Maurepas.

However, it will be interesting to see how the new flood walls and gates in the greater NOLA region work next time we are hit by a category 3 storm. Personally, I think a Katrina (forgive mention) path will be an even worse debacle for Mississippi now, because all that flood water that normally goes into the lakes will want to go "somewhere" and that "somewhere" will be Biloxi, Waveland, Gulfport, and Mobile Bay. They may have solved NOLA problem, but I think they've made it worse on the next 4 decent sized cities to the east.

Regarding the "t" it's called a typo.

Oct 02, 2014
been debunked by people online
-People like you who think they are geniuses, or people who know what they are talking about?

"secured a $100,000 grant from the Department of Transportation"

"in 2011, the DOT followed up its initial support with a $750,000 grant to assist Solar Roadways in developing a second "parking lot" demonstration array with solar cells, LED lights, and a heating system built in."

"The campaign was wildly successful, bringing in $2.2 million for Solar Roadways"

"The first is a project in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho, near where the inventors reside. The goal is to develop five pilot projects on non-critical applications such as downtown sidewalks, a train station and part of an airport tarmac... The second application could be on tribal lands, which have their own rules governing roads. Brusaw envisions installing a parking-lot scale project"

-After all arent you the guy who wanted to build millions of solar barges in the ocean? That was debunked yes?

Oct 02, 2014
A quarter of that area covered in panels would be 75gigawatts of peak power, and you'd have to admit it wouldn't interfere with anything significant regarding any use of the Lake.


I would have to admit that? Why would I have to admit that? Skippy that is one of your more stupider ideas.

So you think covering up 25% of Pontchartrain will not interfere with anything? Skippy, it ain't really a lake you know that? It is a tidal estuary. There is already the problems with salt encroachment and taking 25% of the surface currents obstructed will only make that worse. It would also lower the temperature of the waters and give the native sea species of animals and plants that much more problems than they already have.

Skippy you need to find some kind of other hobby. Thinking out things you don't know anything about is something you are not very good at.

Cover a quarter of Pontchartrain with solar panels, Skippy you are really stupid.

Oct 02, 2014
-After all arent you the guy who wanted to build millions of solar barges in the ocean? That was debunked yes?


Better he try that in the ocean than on Lake Pontchartrain, we are already really working hard trying undo all the other damage we done to it over the years.

But yeah that was him and it was almost as stupid as putting them on Pontchartrain.

Oct 02, 2014
-But as usual someone has already thought of your idea first and it was debunked.
http://solarroadw...aqCanopy
But yeah that was him and it was almost as stupid as putting them on Pontchartrain.
Perhaps he is thinking of another lake with a similar name with none of those problems.

Oct 03, 2014
@antialias_physorg

Shouldn't lake water be exposed to sunlight to remain with minimal microbial? . Floating solar panels would make better utility on sea water may be- but lakes used for agri should not entirely be covered.


If we are talking about artificial lakes or pools used for irrigation in hot and dry countries such as the south of Europe (Spain comes to my mind) it could actually be a good idea as it would stop evaporation which is a much greater problem there and at the same time allow the reservoir to provide it's own energy for the pumps.

Fishes and amphibians could use it as a refuge too and this way keep the water free of mosquitos which are also a problem down there.

Oct 03, 2014


Benefits:
-Dual use of the same land without increased risk.

-battery storage for night lights.
-ties into smart grid to feed nearby homes and businesses, or the "main" power lines.
-partially oriented based on latitude for max eff.


They are actually working on some of these concepts here in Holland, specifically storing energy for illumination. But the concept we are handling is using the road cover itself (there are some pilots test on bicycle roads)

Oct 03, 2014
Ghost.

It doesn't make sense to spend money on something yuo are going to drive on.

That system has been debunked by people online as inferior to normal energy systems.

-You are driving on a piece of technology, which makes no sense as it introduces risk and wear and tear.



Oh! You should have told us earlier!! We are actually DOING it, right now. Oh My God!!! I have to tell our Prime Minister and quick!!!
Because of course, we Dutch aren't too good at engineering as everybody knows. Just remember this Afsluitdijk we wanted to build protecting our estuaries form storms... pity they never build it... http://en.wikiped...luitdijk

Oct 03, 2014
@antialias_physorg

Shouldn't lake water be exposed to sunlight to remain with minimal microbial? . Floating solar panels would make better utility on sea water may be- but lakes used for agri should not entirely be covered.


If we are talking about artificial lakes or pools used for irrigation in hot and dry countries such as the south of Europe (Spain comes to my mind) it could actually be a good idea as it would stop evaporation which is a much greater problem there and at the same time allow the reservoir to provide it's own energy for the pumps.

Fishes and amphibians could use it as a refuge too and this way keep the water free of mosquitos which are also a problem down there.


I doubt the fishes and amphibians would appreciate the fact that your solar panels are cutting off sunlight which is what supports the food chain.

Whats more likely is the fishes and frogs would appreciate a meal over shade.

Mosquitoes are part of the food chain too.

Oct 06, 2014
Why are they taking up land instead of putting solar panels on rooftops of houses and buildings? Because they are still doing anything to push up the price of real estate in the UK. Waste of resources.

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