2016-05-20. New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power.

posted May 25, 2016, 1:49 PM by Alan Gould
By Erica Goode, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: An expanse of blue solar panels stretches across part of the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture. In two years, if construction goes as planned, 50,904 panels will float atop the reservoir, generating an estimated 16,170 megawatt hours annually, enough electricity to power almost 5,000 homes, according to Kyocera, the company building the solar plant. ...Unlike most land-based solar plants, floating arrays can also be hidden from public view, a factor in the nonprofit Sonoma Clean Power Company’s decision to pursue the technology. “Sonoma County boasts some of the most beautiful rolling hills, and people don’t want to see them covered by solar panels,” said Rebecca Simonson, a senior power analyst for the renewable energy developer, .... The floating arrays have other assets. They help keep water from evaporating, making the technology attractive in drought-plagued areas, and restrict algae blooms. And they are more efficient than land-based panels, because water cools the panels. ...The Far Niente winery in Oakville, Calif., was an early adopter of floating solar panels, placing 994 on pontoons over an irrigation pond in 2008. Greg Allen, a winemaker at Far Niente who is a mechanical engineer by training, said the company was interested in solar power and wanted to eliminate 100 percent of their energy costs. ...another 1,302 solar panels installed on land. The system is expected to pay for itself by 2020 or sooner, Mr. Allen said. ...putting the panels on water saved vineyard space, and the floating system, combined with a solar array on land, generates up to 477 kilowatts of electricity at peak production. ...Inhabitants of the pond seem unperturbed, he added. “The fish are happy, the frogs are happy, the ducks came back,” he said. “It’s a very healthy pond.”...  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/science/solar-power-floating-on-water.html