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Floating solar panels – the go for drought-stricken US lakes

Flag-USAFloating solar is a win-win energy solution for drought-stricken US lakes
Sunbaked southwest US is a prime spot for floatovoltaic projects, where they could produce clean energy and prevent evaporation in major man-made reservoirs, reports Environment 360, Guardian, Philip Warburg , 1 July 16  The Colorado River’s two great reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are in retreat. Multi-year droughts and chronic overuse have taken their toll, to be sure, but vast quantities of water are also lost to evaporation. What if the same scorching sun that causes so much of this water loss were harnessed for electric power?

solar floating farm London

Installing floating solar photovoltaic arrays, sometimes called “floatovoltaics,” on a portion of these two reservoirs in the southwestern United States could produce clean, renewable energy while shielding significant expanses of water from the hot desert sun.

The dual energy and environmental benefits of floating solar arrays are already beginning to earn the technology a place in the global clean energy marketplace, with floatovoltaic projects now being built in places as diverse as Australia, Brazil, China, England, India, Japan, South Korea, and California. And nowhere could they prove as effective as on lakes Mead and Powell, the two largest man-made reservoirs in the US.

The US Bureau of Reclamation estimates that800,000 acre-feet of water – nearly six percent of the Colorado River’s annual flow – is baked off Lake Mead’s surface by the searing desert sun during an average year. Lake Powell loses about860,000 acre-feet annually to evaporation and bank seepage. Since floatovoltaics can reduce evaporation in dry climates by as much as 90%, covering portions of these two water bodies with solar panels could result in significant water savings.

Extrapolating from the spatial needs of floating solar farms already built or designed, the electricity gains from installing floatovoltaics on just a fraction of these man-made desert lakes could be momentous. If six percent of Lake Mead’s surface were devoted to solar power, the yield would be at least 3,400 megawatts of electric-generating capacity – substantially more than the Hoover Dam’s generating capacity of 2,074 megawatts.

This solar infusion could give the power-hungry Southwest a major boost in renewable electricity, and at least some of that power could piggyback on underused transmission lines built for the Hoover Dam…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/30/floating-solar-is-a-win-win-energy-solution-for-drought-stricken-us-lakes

July 1, 2016 - Posted by | renewable, USA

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

    Comment by Nancy | July 2, 2016 | Reply


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