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Offshore Solar Islands

We have offshore wind farms, so, why not an island out at sea covered in solar panels generating lots of electricity?

That has been suggested by DNV who are a worldwide certification and consultancy firm.

Will we ever see large solar panel farms on islands off the UK coastline?

They have just revealed design plans for solar arrays on an island that could far exceed the energy produced by a wind farm. The documents show a group of small artificial islands that have been connected together covering an area equating to the size of a football pitch. Those islands are capable of having 4,200 solar photovoltaic panels placed on them providing 50 MW of power that is more than enough electricity for the needs of 30,000 residents occupying a small town.

The idea has been named SUNdy and would utilise solar panels whose film is very thin each producing 560W. This type of solar panel is ideal for what they would be intended for as they are not only light weight but are also much more flexible than a standard glass-based model enabling them to cope with any movement of the islands caused by waves off the coast.

DNV explained that by breaking down the overall floor size of the development into a number of islands would assist in making it easier to assemble the units offshore plus floating gangways would be used to provide access to carry out maintenance work. Spread mooring will be used to maintain the shape of the development.

Bjørn Tore Markussen who is the Chief Operating Officer at DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability Asia, commented:”Many countries are turning to solar technology and renewable energy because of a need for alternative energy sources and environmental concerns.

“We firmly believe the SUNdy floating solar field concept offers sound and sustainable development prospects, particularly in Asia and the congested coastal megacities where there’s limited opportunity for rooftop solar power and urban areas which command premium prices for large-scale mounted solar production.”

It will be interesting to see if we see “solar panel island” projects being put forward for locations off our coastline here in the UK.

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