What are Photovoltaics?
Photovoltaics or floating solar light systems are solar panel arrays that have been developed to float on water. Placing solar panels on water is not a new concept as it has been around for over a decade now and it offers a range of benefits when compared to ground-based solar panels. Photovoltaics is considered to be the future of solar lighting systems, especially in areas where land space is premium.
Major Photovoltaic projects are in full swing in the Yamakura dam reservoir in Japan, the Indian state of Kerala, and Sonoma County, California. Floating solar panels remove the need to cover up ground space with solar panels. Photovoltaic projects are becoming increasingly popular in New Mexico. Most current Photovoltaic systems are also estimated to be around 20% more efficient than their land-based counterparts, which leads to a greater degree of electricity generation.
The system solves the heating problem
One of the major drawbacks of solar power is the fact that solar panels heat up tremendously. Floating solar panels on water cool the PV panels and it does not require any shade to do the job. This serves to increase the longevity of the solar cells, and it is perfect for tropical areas such as India and South America where heat is a problem. As constant heat decreases the efficiency of solar panels, Photovoltaics solve this problem and ensure that solar panels generate more energy throughout their lifetime. It can lead to the generation of excess energy which can always be metered back into a town's utility system.
Photovoltaics reduces evaporation
Around the globe, billions of liters of water are lost to evaporation on a daily basis and this is a huge problem in drought-stricken places such as California. Floating panels reduce evaporation rates as they shield water from the sun, and if implemented on a large-scale basis, it can decrease evaporation rates as much by 90% in dry climates. This largely fringe benefit has emerged as one of the biggest reasons to adopt photovoltaics. In fact, this benefit is a major reason as to why photovoltaics are gaining more prominence.
Photovoltaics are currently more expensive than land-based systems, but this point will become moot as the technology matures. Flooding is also a problem as flash floods are capable of easily damaging solar panels. However, the benefits it currently offers, especially to drought-stricken areas, far outweigh any drawbacks the technology may have.