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Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Director ENcome Energy Performance

AMA - I‘ll be happy to answer all questions. For information upfront please check my LinkedIn profile. All the best, Markus

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  • Dec 1, 2021
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By now, it has become clear that there will not be a transition to clean energy sources without photovoltaics. Both ground-mounted and rooftop installations have gained precedence, however floating photovoltaics, agrivoltaics and building-integrated photovoltaics have yet to be adopted into the mainstream.  

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 1, 2021

Floating solar often seems like one of those 'solutions in search of a problem' type innovations to me, though it does seem like in the right niche (bodies of water where limiting the evaporation cycle is beneficial, for example; or bodies of water already right adjacent to transmission infrastructure like those used for hydropower) they provide a beneficial boost. The question is can they be a solution at a scale to really make a dent? 

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Dec 1, 2021

I think it might be a good niche addition similar to pumped storage power station. It doesn't bother anyone at such locations but can contribute to the energy transition.

In terms of scale, Sunseap is planning a 2.2 GWp floating PV-Plant in Indonesia

https://electrek.co/2021/07/22/the-worlds-largest-floating-solar-farm-to...

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 1, 2021

"By now, it has become clear that there will not be a transition to clean energy sources without photovoltaics."

Clear to whom, Markus? The only people I've seen who feel that way are those selling and/or installing solar panels.
PV solar now generates 3% of the world's electricity, at uncertain times in uncertain weather, and remains hopelessly dependent on fossil fuel for backup. Any non-conflicted individual who feels dependence on fossil fuel represents some kind of "energy transition" hasn't been paying attention. That milestone was passed over a century ago.

Andrew Blakers's picture
Andrew Blakers on Dec 1, 2021

Look at South Australia, which is THE global pathfinder for solar/wind. In the month of November, the electricity mix was 46% wind, 29% solar, and 23% fossil gas. In a recent 3-day period, solar and wind exceeded 100% on average, with the excess being exported through a skinny connector to the east. South Australia has no nuclear, hydro, bio, geo to balance the grid. The gas fraction was a few percent for most of this period. The wholesale electricity price was the lowest of any state in Australia. In other words, we are learning to successfully manage 100% solar/wind.

In order to promote nuclear, it is not necessary to denigrate solar & wind.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 1, 2021

My apologies, Andrew, if you feel I've denigrated solar and wind. I think they are wonderful sources of energy for wealthy people living in deserts where the wind blows constantly. Except for coastal areas, that pretty much typifies the climate and populace of South Australia.

The 1.7 million residents of SA, who make up two one-hundredths of one percent of the world's population (.02%), occupy a country with the second-highest per capita wealth of any in the world (after Luxembourg). As such, they are uniquely disqualified from assessing a source of energy's usefulness and affordability for the other 99.98% of the world's population.

And as the world's second-largest exporter of coal (after Indonesia), there is no small measure of hypocrisy in patting yourself on the back for your country's environmental accomplishments. They've been bought with filthy lucre.

Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Dec 2, 2021

And this will only get better as there is still significant curtailment of wind and solar in SA. With minimum gas generation rules being gradually lowered, more solar and wind coming on board and battery capacity doubling over the next 18 months SA should be running at an annualised 80% wind and solar within 12 months and 85% in 2023

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Dec 3, 2021

Interesting points - curious about studies that these have on the ecosystems in the water.  Solar on roof tops and buildings make sense to me, but not sure about water.  Can you share any insights you have on this? 

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Dec 6, 2021

So far not many studies have been conducted but we have build our post on the following two studies. Both indicating the cooling effect of the panels; hence reduced evaporation and algae growth. From a practical perspective solar plants in O&M daily practices don't require any oil or other harmful chemicals. Panels f.e. can only be washed with water as no OEM will provide approved chemical usage to clean panels. 

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00768-8https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/507239

 

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