Solar-powered lighting systems are set to make far-flung marine locations more reliable and productive. Installing solar panels on the water, instead of land, is an effective way to boost efficiency. This practice is proliferating at a rapid pace worldwide, with large water-based solar farms operating in Japan, Brazil and India. Read on to learn about the benefits of using floating solar panels to power remote and marine lighting systems.
Addressing Temperature and Evaporation
In terms of performance, water-based solar panels are more efficient than land-based variants. This is because the floating units are actively cooled by the surrounding water, resulting in an increase of productive output by 11 percent (according to Korea Water Resources Corporation).
Interestingly, because the large panels cover the water, evaporation is also greatly reduced. Massive solar-powered systems are capable of decreasing evaporation by up to 70 percent. To put this into perspective, a six-acre lake that is covered in panels could save roughly eight million gallons of water annually. Furthermore, the growth rate of algae is slowed down considerably, as the plants rely on sunlight for food.
Most floating solar panel systems are setup in lakes or man-made aqua farms, not the ocean. With less corrosive and unpredictable elements to factor in, it is easier and less costly to maintain the units. Additionally, inverters are typically not floating and are setup on land. Because of this, submersible or floating wires must be used to connect the panels to the main components of the system.
When installed at the ocean, the units are prone to saltwater corrosion and rough winds. An optimized configuration consists of connected floatation devices to keep the panels upright and stable from light waves. Lastly, to save even more energy, LEDs are highly recommended for use with the panels. The robust lights consume less energy than traditional lighting technologies, such as incandescent and metal halide lamps.