Ground Mounted Solar vs Floating Solar
Updated: Jan 17
When you think of solar panels, you likely think of the panels sitting atop a building or in a field. However, there are other options, such as floating solar arrays. These platforms use water rather than land as a base, making them more efficient and cost-effective.
Overview of Ground Mounted Solar
Ground-based solar energy systems require anywhere between 3.5-16.5 acres for each MW produced. A decently sized solar farm will require many square miles to provide the optimal amount of energy. Real estate is often desired for farmland or even for building, which causes conflict.
To install ground mounted solar, you may mount them on a roof, which works for a single home. However, flat land is necessary if you need to build multiple solar arrays. You’ll need a solid base where they can be attached to do this. Stability is the key to keeping the solar farm in good condition.
Pros of Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Ground mounted panels are a better option in areas with no lakes or other bodies of water. They can be mounted on solid ground or even concrete and set to the perfect angle to receive sunlight. They should be mounted near the area where the energy is needed so there is a minimal distance to travel.
For solar energy produced on land, you’ll find that you can easily adjust the panels as needed. It’s easy to do on land, and you’ll find it easier to maintain the panels.
Cons of Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to ground mounted solar options. They can be expensive due to the need for concrete spread over multiple acres to anchor the panels. Not only does this require large amounts of money, but it also requires plenty of time. You may need special permits to add large numbers of panels depending on where you live.
Over time, brush and weeds will often grow, requiring frequent cutting to prevent shade. Any shade from trees or buildings will also affect the panels’ efficiency.
Overview of Floating Solar
Floating solar platforms are similar in design as far as the panels are involved. The panels are installed atop a specially designed floating platform. This platform are nearly impossible to sink and provide extra space for technicians to walk between the panels for maintenance and servicing.
Roughly 70% of the world is comprised of water. Floating solar platforms take advantage of this otherwise unusable space while conserving land. Setting up “floatovoltaics” on this unused space creates a more feasible solution for renewable energy. Using proven floating technology from years at AccuDock, our floating PV platforms are made in the U.S. with all U.S. parts.
Pros of Floating Solar Panels
Floating photovoltaics is an innovative renewable energy solution. These floating solar platforms use otherwise unused space and help reduce our carbon footprint. The platforms provide shade to cool the water, preventing excess algae growth and conserving water.
FPV also makes it easy to maximize solar energy production. The white platform can be quite reflective, and with properly designed solar panels, they will capture the reflected light. This allows for the production of extra energy. Additionally, the maintenance is minimal on these panels since there are no weeds to grow. Shade is also minimal, except near the edges of the water.
Lakes benefit significantly from solar platforms, but floatovoltaics can also be used with hydroelectric dams. They prevent evaporation, so they increase the amount of water the dam utilizes and provide extra energy as needed.
How Floating Solar Platforms Stand the Test of Time & Weather
Floating solar panels are best set up in areas with minimal waves but can handle strong weather conditions. The adjustability makes it easier to protect the panels, even in a storm.
Installation for floating solar platforms usually involves assembling them on land and then lifting them into the water. There, they must be anchored to keep them in place. The arrays are all attached for better stability, creating a large floating platform of panels. This also allows the panels to block UV rays and lower the lake’s temperature.
While maintenance is still needed, most water-based solar farms require less dust to clear, improving the overall lifespan of the panels. The reflection of the water aids in extra energy creation.
Get Started with Floating Solar
Overall, floating renewable energy is a far better option than ground-based choices. The space used would otherwise be unusable, so it makes sense to put it to good use. Also, when solar panels are used to prevent algae growth, they reduce the amount of water that evaporates in the heat.
Creating a sustainable way to produce electricity is always something to strive for. When set up correctly, floating solar platforms generate large amounts of clean energy that ultimately saves our environment.