New Development: Floating Solar PV Installation in South Africa
South Africa is known for a few unique discoveries that have since also been introduced to the rest of the world, including research on how to sustain water more efficiently, and how to recover from a drought which has presented itself as a source of wisdom to those experiencing the same conditions in their countries.
One particular development, however, is solar technology, which has been designed to float. This 600Wp floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system, can be found right outside Franschhoek in the Western Cape thanks to New Southern Energy who installed the system on the farm’s dam.
How Does a Floating Solar Panel Help Farmers?
To start, it saves farmers and agricultural land plenty of valuable space. So far, it is the very first commercially operated floating solar system in Africa and is also the largest, being 60kWp in size. This development has also raised further questions and ideas surrounding a floating solar PV market.
During the first phase of the floating solar panel project, which includes a land-based solar installation that takes place on the farm, it offers a lot of potential, including allowing the farm to work off 90% of the panel’s energy-intensive cold storage and for irrigation purposes. The second phase involves the installation of battery packs, which will aid in the sustainability of work done in agriculture today, also supporting the economy. Further development of floating solar panels can do a lot for the country and will allow farms to operate without the traditional electricity supply. This will allow farms to not be required to be as reliant on a proper electricity grid. It is also far more affordable and will help solve one of South Africa’s biggest current problems, which is the inefficient supply of electricity to the entire country due to a lack thereof.
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