First Large-Scale Floating Solar Power Generation System
Dec 21 2012
IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and Ciel et Terre signed an R&D agreement at the end of 2011 to develop Hydrelio, the world's first large-scale floating solar power generation system. Designed by R&D teams at Ciel et Terre, Hydrélio has just been launched on the international market, and the results are already promising.
This partnership was set up as part of IFPEN's (France) technological support policy to help SMEs develop their technological innovations. With this project, IFPEN has contributed its scientific expertise in the fields of finite element modelling, structural modelling and analysis of mooring line behaviour.
This new floating solar power generation concept addresses the problems of land availability and landscape impacts that large-scale land-based solar power generation projects come up against. It makes it possible to conserve land that can be put to other uses (farming, mining, tourism, urban development) and to convert unused stretches of water into spaces dedicated to renewable electricity production (quarry lakes, irrigation ponds, water treatment plant lagoons, dams). These stretches of water cover substantial areas. Synergies with water can even go beyond with side benefits such as preserving water resources by cutting evaporation and preventing from algae growth.
The modular Hydrélio system comes in a variety of versions and can be used to construct power plants generating up to 50 megawatts. The basic module consists of two blow moulded floats made of HDPE plastic material: one supports the solar panel and the other is used as a link and to provide maintenance access. The floats are then joined together to form solar islands, using an easy-to-assemble, ultra-resistant system of connection pins.
The Ciel et Terre / IFPEN partnership focused on the mechanical strain placed on the system and, particularly, the extreme stresses that a floating platform may be subject to as a result of swell and high winds. The tests, which are structured to take into account maximum stresses related to extreme weather conditions (cyclones, typhoons), confirm the viability of the system for all climates during 20+ years.
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