Many of you know photovoltaic systems primarily from house roofs or huge solar parks in the country. This was previously the cheapest way to produce solar energy. Since solar technology has become significantly cheaper in the last ten years, other uses are also possible that could cover the energy demand forever. There is even another advantage.
Floating solar systems can meet global electricity needs
In recent years, the cost of solar energy has fallen massively. That is why solar systems are one of the cheapest forms of generating electricity. The acquisition costs are now even so low that new locations are available that were previously too expensive. A research team from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen (China) has found that if you cover 30 percent of all water reservoirs and reservoirs worldwide with photovoltaic systems, you are doing it could cover more than 40 percent of the world’s energy needs (Source: Nature (PDF)). In this way, 9400 TWh per year could be produced.
This is the first study that includes a global view of the possibilities and not just one region or one country. Entire cities could be supplied with energy by floating solar systems. The existing infrastructure could be used almost unchanged. So far, the potential has not been fully exploited. China still has the largest system in operation on a reservoir, which has an output of 320 MW. The researchers state that the United States in particular has the greatest potential with many bodies of water that could generate electricity.
With a balcony power plant, each of you can produce solar energy:
Positive side effect not to be neglected
Partially covering water reservoirs and reservoirs would have another benefit. The respective regions can save an enormous amount of water every year that would otherwise have evaporated without being used. The researchers are talking about an amount of water that 300 million people use every year. This would have a particularly positive effect on reservoirs, since there would be more water to generate electricity and the infrastructure would also be in place to feed a lot of electricity into the grid.
However, the researchers admit that covering water surfaces with photovoltaic systems could also have negative effects on the ecosystem. That is why there needs to be further research.