“Floatovoltaics,” which involves placing solar arrays over water, has the potential to contribute significantly to the generation of clean energy, as opposed to the current widespread use of land-based solar power systems.
The only difference between and solar panels on land is that floatovoltaics are off the ground. In this case, the solar panels are instead on a raft. Water-based solar arrays like these are only some ways to get power from the sun. But a new study published in Nature Sustainability gives a big picture of how much floatovoltaics could help cities.
Getting the most out of solar energy
Researchers say that the energy needs of 6,256 cities in 124 countries could be met by putting solar panels on nearby water reservoirs. They would need to put solar rafts on about 30% of the water’s surface to do this.
Researchers looked at 114,555 reservoirs worldwide and used different databases and models to come to this conclusion. Is that it? It turned out that these floating rafts of solar panels would also keep the sun from reaching the water, which would stop it from drying out. This would lead to water conservation, saving as much water as 300 million people need yearly.
These floatovoltaics can solve many problems that both hydroelectric power and solar panels have now. Droughts are becoming a big problem for the first group because of changes in the climate, and this can be stopped if people save water. Heat waves can also hurt how well solar panels work, but water can help keep them cool.
Hydroelectric dams and solar array rafts could work together to give cities all the electricity they need. Researchers found that the US has more good reservoirs for this purpose, and China and Brazil came in second and third, respectively.
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