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The world may already be familiar with offshore wind, but what about offshore solar?
Japanese technology giant Kyocera has announced the beginning of one of its most ambitious projects yet: a floating solar farm. The project, which will have a generating capacity of 2.9 MW, is being undertaken in partnership with Century Tokyo Leasing Corp.
Floating solar aims to solve one of Japan’s biggest issues with solar: the lack of space for large-scale installations. There are concerns in the country that solar installations take up much-needed agricultural land.
The project will be comprised of two different installations with a 1.7 and 1.2 MW generating capacity. Both will be in Kato City in Hyogo Prefecture.
Kyocera also believes the water will help keep the panels cool, allowing for a higher efficiency rate. This isn’t the only benefit, though. According to the company, floating solar panels prevent algae growth by shading the water, are 100% recyclable, and can withstand extreme weather conditions such as typhoons.
While the concept of a floating solar farm sounds revolutionary, France’s Ciel et Terre—a partner on the project and supplier of panels—has had a floating farm since 2011. According to New Civil Engineer, the project will be based on the company’s Hydrelio concept.
“A basic module is formed from two blow-moulded floats made with HDPE (high-density polythene) plastic,” they explain. “One float supports the solar panel and the other provides a tab connection to other floats, and also provides maintenance access. The floats are then joined together to form solar ‘islands’, using connection pins.” For a visual explantion, see this image:
The project is expected to be completed in March of next year.
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