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Waterborne Solar

Floating solar panels are the rage

As solar units continue to plunge in price – developers are looking at waterways as an ideal location for “floatovoltaics,” according to a recent article in the New York Times.

The solar panels can help curb evaporation of ever more valuable, shrinking water resources.

Furthermore, they inhibit nasty algae blooms.

“Floating solar arrays — they are often referred to as  ‘floatovoltaics,’ a term trademarked by one company — also have advantages over solar plants on land, their proponents say,” the newspaper reported.

“Renting or buying land is more expensive, and there are fewer regulations for structures built on reservoirs, water treatment ponds and other bodies of water not used for recreation. Unlike most land-based solar plants, floating arrays can also be hidden from public view.”

The Far Niente winery in California eventually looks to get all its power from renewables. It installed 994 pontoons on solar panels in 2008 and 1,302 on land. The $4.2 million cost will pay for itself by 2020, the Times reported.

“Putting the panels on water saved vineyard space,” said winemaker Greg Allen. “The fish are happy, the frogs are happy, the ducks came back.” 

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