They have become a familiar sight on rooftops and fields across Britain. Now, solar panels are set to start appearing in a new and surprising location: floating on reservoirs.
Britain’s first ever floating solar panel project has just been built in Berkshire, in a scheme its developer claims will act as a blueprint for the technology to be installed at hundreds of sites across the country.
The 800 panel project is 200kw capacity and spans roughly an acre. Development was installed at a cost of £250,000.
One of the advantages of floating solar arrays is that, unlike their conventional counterparts, they need not use up valuable agricultural land and disrupt biodiversity.
Though the technology is new to Europe, it is tried and tested elsewhere. In Japan, floating solar arrays are seen as a key part of the future national energy mix. The land scarce country hopes to build a huge network of around 30 floating arrays, each capable of generating around 2MW of power.
India, meanwhile, plans to build the world’s largest floating solar plant. The colossal 50MW project is expected to cost $64-72m (£39.5-44.4m).
The International Energy Agency, has forecast massive growth for the solar industry, suggesting the sector could surpass all other sources of energy by mid-century.