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UK’s First Floating Solar Farm Goes Online in Berkshire

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c7571eed-4fde-4d02-a0a7-f6a46b9088e2-460x276Germany has been in the spotlight for quite some time now, breaking all renewable energy records. But across the EU, the Germans are definitely not the only ones introducing innovations and sustainable solutions. The U.K. for example just got its first floating solar farm located in Berkshire, courtesy of Sheeplands Farm.

You probably remember the first time we told you about floating solar power plants. It was the case of the Indian energy giant NHPC, who promised the world’s biggest plant of this kind. According to their schedule, the pilot system was supposed to go online in the coming few weeks. But while the world was patiently waiting for the guys to release the announcement, the British farm Sheeplands Farm near Wargrave decided to leave promises aside and simply go ahead and place a 200KW solar array on the surface of a reservoir.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be just over $405,000 US (£250,000). It consists of 800 PV panels, which are expected to generate enough power so that the investment is returned within 6 years. In the mean time, the owner of Sheeplands Farm, Mark Bennett, is planning to reach to other water companies and reservoir owners, so that the technology is implemented across the country.

Such farms have a number of remarkable advantages over conventional solar plants. For starters, the cooling effect that water has on the panels, gives a boost to the conversion efficiency. What is more, the panels do not take up any land that could otherwise be used for agriculture, but rather they make use of surfaces of water bodies that serve no other purpose.

In other parts of the world, floating solar power plants are about to go online any time now. Besides the ambitious NHPC project in India, other similar farms can be expected in Japan, built and run by Kyocera.

Image (c) Floating Solar UK Ltd

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