Decades of pollution and unchecked development is changing the world’s climate at an alarming rate. While for most countries, the change is a bearable inconvenience in the form of hotter temperatures and reduced rainfall, for Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, these “inconveniences” have disastrous effects.
In fact, the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) autumn summary, reported that Australia experienced the fourth-driest April to June nationwide in 2018 since 1900. In southern Australia alone, droughts have been found to be the worst in 400 years and are expected to become more prevalent in the future.
A summary by the BOM also reveal a 13% drop from 2018 in Australia’s water storage which stands at 55% full (from a total of 305 storages). Higher temperatures coupled with the nation’s dry climate also increases the rate of water evaporation from water reservoirs, further exacerbating declining water storage levels.
Floating solar presents a viable solution
Fortunately, there is a simple solution: by covering the surface of water with FloatPac’s floatovoltaic panels, the rate of water evaporation can be reduced allowing hydropower dams to operate at an optimum level whilst preventing water shortages.
By solving Australia’s water scarcity, floating solar power systems also solves Australia’s growing demand for energy as the placement of solar panels on water helps floating solar power systems generate 11% – 21% greater energy output thanks to the cooling effect of water.
On the environmental front, floating solar power also reduces the amount of water required to clean the solar panels. By the estimations of the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), up to 20,000 litres of water per megawatt can be reclaimed each cleaning session.
This water saving benefit is further enhanced by the fact that floating solar panels require less routine cleaning sessions due to the decreased amount of dust that settles on the cells.
Conveniently, the placement of solar panels on bodies of water such as dams creates a barrier that reduces evaporation from sun exposure, allowing hydropower dams to operate at an optimum level while preventing water shortages.
Covering the surface of water to reduce evaporation also means less salt is left behind as the result of water vapour rising into the atmosphere, thus reducing water salinity and increasing water quality for human consumption and irrigation. For Australia’s agriculture industry, having access to water with low salinity can prevent stunted growth, wilting, and yield loss.
But, equally as important, floating solar systems also help tackle the challenges posed by algae bloom which, according to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, can produce toxins that affect aquatic life and human health. Persistent and widespread blooms also lead to loss of biological function of the waterway.
By creating a barrier on the surface of water, the panels help reduce water temperatures, thereby containing the growth of algae which can be exacerbated during drought conditions and with rising temperatures.
Lastly, the benefits of improved water conservation, positive environmental effects, and greater energy output is made accessible thanks to the unique design of FloatPac’s 100% recyclable, UV-stablised, and mould and rot-resistant flotation pods that reduces cost and carbon footprint.
FloatPac Solar’s Australian designed floatovoltaic system focuses on decreasing the impact on the environment by containing algae bloom, enhancing water security, reducing carbon emissions, all while using 100% recyclable cells and increasing energy generation efficiency.
Gavin Hodgins, FloatPac CEO