The world’s first floating solar power plant is a thing, apparently. It’s called Sonnenterrasse Giessen (Sun Terrace Giessen), and it sits on Lake Vierwaldstattersee in central Switzerland. Developers have built seven platforms that span 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet). The various platforms and structures contain 724 solar panels and will produce 240 megawatt hours of electricity a year. That’s enough to power 80 average households for a year—impressive for any structure, let alone one that floats on water!
Floating solar farms are a thing, apparently.
I know you’re probably wondering how floating solar farms work. Well, they’re a lot like regular land-based solar farms, except that instead of being built on land, they’re built on water.
There are several reasons for this: one is that lakes and reservoirs have a lot of space to spare. Another reason is that the sun’s rays reflect off the surface of water more than it does from the ground, making it easier for floating solar panels to generate power.
And because these projects use water as their base rather than land (where there are more regulations), they tend to be cheaper than their counterparts and produce more electricity per acre than regular ground-mounted panels do—which means we could start seeing them pop up all over!
This new one, called Sonnenterrasse Giessen (Sun Terrace Giessen), is on Lake Vierwaldstattersee in central Switzerland.
As you might expect, the world’s first floating solar farm is in a place with plenty of sunshine. In fact, it’s on Lake Vierwaldstattersee in central Switzerland. The lake gets plenty of sun year-round, which makes it a good place to generate power from solar panels on its surface.
The new one, called Sonnenterrasse Giessen (Sun Terrace Giessen), is 1.2 acres (0.5 hectares) and produces an average of 1 gigawatt hour (GWh) per year—that’s enough to power about 200 homes for an entire year. That may not sound like much compared with some other major sources of electricity production, but it’s significant given that this is just one little floating panel that floats on water!
Developers have built seven platforms.
The platforms are made of a steel frame and polycrystalline silicon solar panels, which is the type of solar panel used on space shuttles. The plants have a total surface area of 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet) and are built on the water’s surface so they don’t have any impact on other lands.
The solar power plant is designed to prevent evaporation caused by water coming into contact with sunlight, which can lower efficiency. It also uses an advanced tracking system that follows the sun’s position throughout the day to maximize output.
The various platforms and structures contain 724 solar panels.
The floating solar farm produces 240 MWh of electricity a year. The solar panels are on seven platforms, each with a total area of 8,000 square meters (about 85,000 square feet). The platforms are on Lake Vierwaldstattersee in central Switzerland.
The team behind the project says that 240 megawatt hours of electricity would be enough to power 80 average households for a year.
The plant can also run on up to 600 megawatt hours of solar energy, which is about half the annual consumption of Switzerland’s biggest city, Zurich.
That’s impressive for a structure that floats on water.
For a floating structure, it’s impressive in more ways than one. Floating solar farms are a new concept and they have some advantages that traditional land-based installations don’t, like the ability to take advantage of areas where land is scarce or prohibitively expensive. If you’ve ever tried to buy a house in San Francisco, you know what I’m talking about here: if your budget is $12 million and there’s only one house available for sale at $25 million, well…you might just be SOL (which stands for S*** Outta Luck). But not when it comes to floating solar plants!
This project shows what’s possible with solar-powered farms.
As you can see, this project shows us that floating solar farms are a new idea that is becoming more and more popular. One of the main reasons for this is because they can be built in places where it’s hard to build on land or in places where there isn’t any land at all, such as the sea!
And that’s how we got the world’s first floating solar farm.