Floating solar power has the potential to provide low-cost renewable energy, at scale, around the world. To date, more than 2.4 GWp has been installed using mainstream technologies. However, the World Bank estimates the global potential of floating solar, even under moderate assumptions, to be 2000 GWp on man-made reservoirs alone. Factor in nearshore coastal waters, rivers, lakes, and other locations currently unfeasible for mainstream floating solar technology, and the potential becomes enormous. Ocean Sun’s patented technology offers lower cost, opens more locations, and is expected to acquire a substantial share of future floating installations.
Our design was inspired by nature. The giant water lily, Victoria Amazonica, rests on the waters’ surface, just like our floater. Both are anchored to the seabed; both thrive in the sunlight, solar cells mimic plant cells, photovoltaics mimic photosynthesis.
A thin polymer membrane supports the PV modules, using a minimum of materials to achieve the required buoyancy. The amount of materials determines the lowest theoretical cost of a floating PV installation, which greatly impacts the Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE).
Using Ocean Sun’s patented solution, the PV module’s operating temperature is reduced due to direct heat transfer into the water below, which improves the efficiency of the solar modules, as depicted in the infrared picture. The improved efficiency has been third-party verified by DNV.
WIND AND WAVE RESISTANT
Ocean Sun’s system is the first floating PV system to receive a Statement of Conformity from DNV GL validating the design and the structural integrity in waves, wind, and currents.
The thin polymer membrane gives the system hydroelastic properties that allow the structure and PV modules to move gracefully to the waves’ harmonics instead of battling against the force of the waves. Pool tests and simulations are used to predict the systems’ wave capabilities. Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis (CFD) has proven that the system can withstand Category 4 Typhoon winds of 275 km/h.
Once the floater and membrane are installed, it is fully safe to walk on the surface. The unique, patented design of the PV modules and fasteners allows for rapid and simple installation.
Due to the system’s material efficiency, logistics are significantly reduced compared to other floating PV systems. The membrane for our OS 75 floater fits into a single 40ft container.
IMPROVED WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The floaters reduce evaporation, a concern in many warm and dry regions, particularly for hydropower reservoirs. The system also reduces underwater sunlight exposure and mitigates algae growth problems that can cause concern in certain locations.