Floating Solar Panels Open New Doors for Solar

Large scale solar innovation around the world can benefit individual homeowners in the United States, reports show.


Floating solar cells are cheap enough now that, combined with existing projects, market viability may already be here.

A project in Portugal shows promise for a combination of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells floating on a body of water already attached to a hydroelectric plant. According to reports from Reuters Events Renewables, a new power plant is set to be built based on a pilot project already live since 2016.

This hybrid approach shows more and more promise all over the world as the costs of floating PV solar plants continue to decline. Solar panels that literally float on top of water can provide energy as well as solar panels set up on dry land; the same sunshine hits them all. So why not use that space? The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has already reported that up to 10% of the power generation in the United States alone could come from floating solar cells on just 27% of the surface area of our thousands of feasible bodies of water.

These types of advancements in solar technology will ultimately translate to lower utility costs for US households and businesses — even those that don’t get solar on their own rooftops!

The reporting on the new project in Portugal also states that a demo battery storage system will be installed, promising to provide quicker, cleaner ramp-up and ramp-down times. This means that utility companies could be better equipped to deal with natural elements like strong winds that threaten to start fires. PG&E and SCE in California are still resorting to large-scale extended power outages. With newer, safer, more innovative technologies, people and businesses will see fewer blackouts, with shorter durations. Ultimately, this means fewer price hikes from utilities – since, as we’ve already seen, the aftermath of fires started by their equipment puts them on the line for colossal amounts of monetary damages, which they pass along to their customers.

The addition of solar-generated electricity to the existing grid is the core of residential solar. It’s an innovation that enables lower costs to customers and greater benefit to large areas. But, since they are tied to the existing utility-owned grids, most solar setups will still face blackouts when utility companies need to turn the grid’s power off.

If you want a whole home system with solar panels to produce energy for the grid and backup battery power with a smart inverter to switch to off-grid power during blackouts, we can set you up. Reach out to Sungevity today to speak with one of our home solar experts!

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Reuters Events Renewables: EDP floating PV-hydro project shows market viability
NREL: Floating Solar Photovoltaics Could Make a Big Splash in the USA