Floatovoltaics and Their Role in Clean Energy

floatovoltaics, clean energy

FTCC platform at Petra winery in Suvereto, Italy. Photo courtesy of Scienza Industria Tecnologia (SIT)

Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

  • Floatovoltaics and their role in clean energy: Clean energy and water have been partners for decades. And since about two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, floatovoltaics could represent a significant new direction. Essentially, its nothing more than a platform with solar collectors placed on the water surface. However, it offers other options including farming, such is a floating solar farm designed and developed by a Barcelona-based company Smart Floating Farms. Another example is project Wine country wastewater power located  in Sonoma County, California. Local a not-for-profit agency Sonoma Clean Power decided to float a platform with solar panels on top of several wastewater ponds. As Geof Syphers, CEO of the agency explains: “The advantage to us is we’re in a community that values open space and farmland. We have solar on land, but this helps deploy more renewable energy and cut emissions without using farmland for our systems.” A 50MW project is being planned by India’s largest hydroelectric company National Hydro Power Corporation in the southern state of Kerala. As the developers explain: “The ecology of the water body is not likely to be affected much and it will also reduce evaporation, thus helping preserve water levels during extreme summer. Solar panels installed on land face reduction of yield as the ground heats up. When such panels are installed on a floating platform, the heating problem is solved to a great extent.”
  • A public call for new and innovative green ideas: Company Unilever is among many others that have launched campaigns to involve public in new and innovative ideas for a more sustainable living. The goal of their new Foundry IDEAs campaign is to get even more people — both the general public and potential business partners — involved in suggesting viable solutions that map directly to some of Unilever’s ambitious sustainable business goals. As Karen Hamilton, global vice president for sustainability at Unilever, explained:   “We anticipate linking up with people who are budding entrepreneurs who have an idea, but who haven’t much taken it beyond that. We might also connect with startups that might have a full-fledged solution. … We believe in the power of the crowd.” The Foundry IDEAS site is launching with three “grand challenges,” all of which fall under the areas of sanitation, hygiene and nutrition: 1. How can we help 100 million people have access to basic toilet sanitation by 2020? 2. Invent the shower of the future, to be more luxurious and more sustainable; 3. How can we enable millions of mothers and daughters in Africa to embrace more nutritious cooking?
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