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Solar Islands Take Advantage of Wasted Real Estate to Power Cities


SUNdy 2MW Solar Island ConceptWe’ve all heard the argument, “Not in my back yard,” when it comes to energy installations. This seems to apply to even clean energy installations, such as wind and solar. People complain about “all that wasted space” or other seemingly valid complaints, while ignoring the real issue, clean energy.

DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability [DNV] has just shown off a concept at Singapore International Energy Week that might supply an answer to both clean energy needs and aesthetic desires. The SUNdy off-shore solar island concept takes advantage of ocean acreage that might seem to be underused off shore from major cities, such as New York City or Tokyo.

The SUNdy ‘solar island‘ is made up of thin-film solar panels are individually rated at 560W, but when arranged in an efficient hexagonal pattern, each individual section generates 2MW. Up to 25 could be arranged around a central transformer and transmission island, for a total of 50MW, enough to provide power for 30,000 people.

“The thin-film 560 W solar panels which are flexible and lighter than the traditional rigid glass-based modules, allowing them to undulate with the ocean’s surface,” explains Sanjay Kuttan, Managing Director of the DNV Clean Technology Centre in Singapore. “The key to creating an ocean-based structure of this size is the use of a tension-only design. Rather like a spider’s web, this dynamic, compliant structure yields to the waves, yet is capable of withstanding considerable external loads acting upon it.”

The SUNdy solar island can be prefabricated on shore and quickly deployed on site, towed out or simply unfurled from ships and anchored in place. This new technology could be very attractive to the shore-bound locations that have little room for solar installations.

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