UK-based floating solar farm factory to begin production

AqvaFloat has announced that they are due to begin production of floating systems for solar farms across the UK and Europe.

The system enables solar farms to be placed on water, and their new factory in Cumbria is expected to initially produce around 12MW of solar systems a year with a view to expanding their capacity in the future.

Building solar farms on water has environmental benefits, as they do not interfere with wildlife or local vegetation. Additionally, placing the panels on water keeps them cool which improves efficiency because the cells don’t overheat.

Simon Piggott, the company’s founder and managing director, said he was ‘highly confident’ in floating solar’s potential across all markets, and that he was looking in particular at expanding into the US, the Americas, and Asia.
‘Water companies are early movers since they have high energy demands nearby and land may be in short supply,’ he said.
‘The added benefits of reduced algal growth and a 10-15% boost in energy yield from the cooling effects of the water are a bonus.’

Alex Formal, head of sales at AqvaFloat, said their system was ‘unique’.

‘The AqvaFloat system is unique. Unlike other systems, it is based on a tried and tested floating docking system that’s been in production for over 40 years,

‘Adapted for solar farms, it is cost-effective and highly robust, certified to withstand 135 mph winds and DWI-water quality approved,’ he said.

‘Tethering floating solar systems in reservoirs has been a big challenge in the past. AqvaFloat applies a unique continuous-torsion tethering system called Aqvaflex that flexibly tethers the solar farm while allowing for large variations in surface water levels in reservoirs.’

Mr Formal adds that the AqvaFloat system can accommodate any sized solar panel, and will ‘maximise’ the use of recycled plastic, though they do not give further details on how they will do this.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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