REC goes “floating”: REC solar panels now certified for floating installations
With assured power output and quality of REC panels in floating solar installations, investors and users can rely on long-term performance in these innovative projects with an interesting potential for applications worldwide.
As the cost of solar technology continues to fall – costs have halved over the last six years – solar energy is reaching grid parity in more and more regions around the world. Analysts predict that solar will be the world’s most common energy source by 2050, with generation costs as low as 2 eurocents per kilowatt hour. But the greatest barrier to expansion might be acreage. To put it in the right perspective: The total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic is expected to increase to 4,600 gigawatts (GW) by 2050 from 150 GW today. No matter how much sunshine they enjoy, countries and regions where space is at a premium, such as Japan, the US east coast, England, and Hong Kong, need to be more flexible in terms of solar applications.
Putting solar on fresh water makes sense
With projects sized from a few kilowatts to several megawatts, floating solar installations can power thousands of households, and enable otherwise underused artificial freshwater bodies to double up as real estate for floating solar installations. In general, various fresh water reservoirs are suitable – wastewater ponds at water treatment facilities and chemical plants, irrigation storage ponds at farms or vineyards, dam reservoirs and aquacultures, all largely available in all countries. In addition, with panels shading the water surface, there is less photosynthesis in the water itself, which means algae to clear from ponds. There is also less evaporation – a welcome benefit for regions with water scarcity issues such as California.
Being heavy power users, a water treatment facility, for example, has freshwater bodies ready to use and can save thousands of dollars per year by using solar electricity. Also, lease payments for underutilized bodies of water are likely to be lower than land lease payments, making a floating installation even more competitive compared to other energy sources. The owners of these water body “assets” benefit from modest revenue streams leasing their water surface.
Luc Graré, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at REC, is confident that REC’s high performance solar panels will help pioneer this new direction. “For many investors, solar installations on water surfaces are uncharted territory and there are very few projects worldwide to serve as benchmarks. So we are delighted to extend REC’s product and performance guarantees to floating applications. This gives investors and users greater investment security, while also delivering substantial ecological benefits.”
REC assured quality for floating installations
The installation is relatively easy to implement, since the floatation structure can be assembled without heavy-duty equipment. As an initial example, REC solar panels are proven to be safe for installations on patented and specifically designed Hydrelio floating pontoons manufactured by the French company Ciel et Terre, with a water salinity not exceeding 25mS/cm at 25°C (15 PSU). Floating systems experience different dynamic stresses compared to terrestrial mounting. REC has performed extensive component and panel testing in real and simulated floating conditions, including also component salt spray, panel vibration, immersion and UV exposure tests. The immersion test is done beyond specified IP67 standard.
For further information please contact:
Public Relations Manager, REC
Leopoldstr. 175, 80804 Munich, Germany
Phone +49 89 54 04 67 225
Email agnieszka.schulze [at] recgroup.com
REC is the largest European brand of solar panels, with more than 15 million high-quality panels produced at the end of 2014. With integrated manufacturing from polysilicon to wafers, cells, panels and turnkey solar solutions, REC strives to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. In partnership with a sales channel of distributors, installers, and EPCs, REC panels are installed globally. Founded in 1996, REC is a Bluestar Elkem company with headquarters in Norway and operational headquarters in Singapore. REC’s 1,800 employees worldwide generated revenues of USD 680 million in 2014.
Find out more about REC at www.recgroup.com