The idea of putting solar panels on water is not new. Since 2007, Marin County, Calif.-based SPG Solar has been doing floating photovoltaics – “Floatovoltics,” the company calls it. But concept designer Phil Pauley is taking the idea and ramping it way up, combining solar and wave technologies to produce power on a utility scale.

Pauley’s Marine Solar Cells, picked up by the Greenlaunches site, would capture wave energy “through natural buoyancy displacement,” according to the designer. The domed pods, strung together in an array and tethered to the sea floor (or so it appears), would also grab the energy of the sun through photovoltaics, both from above and reflected from the surface of the water, increasing solar capture by 20 percent.

marine solar cells, phil pauley
image via Phil Pauley

“These hybrid marine generators would be an effective way of capturing more energy per square metre. The design means they could be largely constructed from recycled materials too,” Pauley said on his website.

The designer imagines that the “low-cost solar-wave units” could be “installed together in off-shore energy batteries or plants generating thousands of jobs and a new solar-marine industry with worldwide implications.”

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