A collaboration between an Israeli and a French company has resulted in the design of a solar panel prototype that floats on the water. Solaris Synergy of Israel and EDF Group of France have partnered to test a new silicon solar cell module that is said to be the first floating concentrated photovoltaic system.
The system is based on a floating platform in which individual modules can be placed and arranged. Each module produces what is said to be 200 kilowatts of electricity, which we assume is dependent upon the configuration of CPV panels in a given module. The two companies are using concentrated solar technology in order to reportedly limit the amount of space the system needs in order to produce a usable amount of energy. The design process began in March of 2010, and is expected to be implemented in testing in September of this year.
The tests will be conducted at Cadarache in the south east of France, due to its location to the electric grid and a hydro-electric facility. The water-basin of the hydro-electric plant will be the surface on which the solar modules are tested. According to scientist Dr. Elyakim Kassel, the coordinator of the projected dubbed AQUASUN, there are many benefits to using an already established water-basin for the floating solar system.
First, the project will not have to use or purchase land, and instead can implement water that is already being used for another purpose. Second, the cooler temperature of the water will help the overall efficiency of solar cells. The testing phase is expected to last nine months, during which the team will note water levels, cost, and efficiency. The companies hope to report their findings to the market in June of 2012.