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Energy company to test floating solar islands

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February 25, 2013

(Image: Viteos)

(Image: Viteos)

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Swiss energy company Viteos has announced that it is to build three floating solar arrays on Lake Neuchâtel. Viteos will work with tech company and "energy enabler" Nolaris to build the 25-m (82-ft) diameter islands, each with 100 photovoltaic panels.

Viteos stresses that the islands are for research and development purposes rather than a practical and cost-effective means of generating energy. In a press release, Viteos Technical Director Philippe Burri explained that the islands would allow the company to observe the corrosive effects of water, wind and waves on the installation.

Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland (Image: TerraMetrics/Google)

Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland (Image: TerraMetrics/Google)

The islands will supposedly rotate through 220° in order to track the sun to maximize generation. They will be made from a compartmentalized inflatable ring in order to reduce cost, ease installation and dismantling. The islands will be installed on a part of the lake closed to boats.

Viteos says will be kept at Neuchâtel port between May and August before being towed and installed at their final location by early 2014. There they are expected to be tested for 25 years.

Source: Viteos, via PV Tech

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
7 Comments

Seriously? Someone believes that building a boat has a lower initial cost and lifetime maintenance cost than a sun tracking pedestal? Covering up a lake's surface has got to be great for the environment as well. Who finances these schemes??

James Barbour
26th February, 2013 @ 01:03 am PST

Well like they said they are testing the corrosive effects of these installations long-term, there are many applications where power is needed in aqua-environments, it specificaly said in the article this wasn't meant to be a "practical and cost-effective means of generating energy".

Also that lake is HUGE, 3x 80' disks isnt going to hurt the eco system, and with the warming of lake water around the globe which is having negative ecological effects, even if it did have an impact it would more then likely be positive.

The people who finance these "schemes" are the ones making the big bucks so maby just listen next time.

Arahant
26th February, 2013 @ 02:39 am PST

WOW great idea, much better than wind and I bet the fish love these, we all know it's cooler in the shade. and material nowadays is amazingly strong, not to mention the efficiency of the new solar cells, one of these floating power plants could be a amazing source of free eco green energy.

you got to crawl before you walk

Jay Finke
26th February, 2013 @ 09:15 am PST

thank you Arahant!

billybob1851
26th February, 2013 @ 04:17 pm PST

Obama's energy policy is right. The world goes solar. Japan's FiT in July is among the highest in the world. Japan's FiT is shaking the solar market. Now, USA has the same options. New solutions will be showed in Japan. This is it!

As you know, earthquake in Japan is happening frequently. Floating photovoltaic system is one of the best solutions for power crisis in Japan. Every year Some typhoons arrive Japan. The typhoon has strong wind. Floating photovoltaic system must have constructed to resist typhoons. So you have to reduce vibration to install floating solar power generation system. Because, it can make micro-cracks to floating solar panels and the durability problem of floating photovoltaic system. The risk of power loss in PV modules due to micro cracks is increasing.

Vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Floating Body Stabilizer for floating photovoltaic system has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when Floating solar panels are being rolled, pitched and yawed on the water. Recently, these Floating Body Stabilizers have been used to reduce vibration of Floating Solar Panels in South Korea. You can watch New Floating Body Stabilizer videos on YouTube. www//youtu.be/O2oys_YHhCc, www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA_xFp5ktbU&feature=youtu.be.

Floating photovoltaic system also needs the directional control mooring technology. Directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So it's very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water.

김민우
27th February, 2013 @ 07:14 pm PST

Maybe they are developing this for the advent of Water World!! :)

Mostly kidding...

Guillaume C Levesque
28th February, 2013 @ 06:16 am PST

I have been working on a similar approach for floating sun-tracking systems since 2010. I believe they will be a great option for cities along lakes and other sweet water beds. As technology keeps improving the efficiency and cost of solar panels, sun tracking remains the best way to get the most potential juice out of them. Yet, its expensive to do. Economics and common sense will solve the equation at the end.

Max Fdez

Max Fdez
20th December, 2013 @ 09:47 am PST
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