Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Image via pv-magazine and ZME Science

Image of floating solar panels from PV Magazine and ZME Science

Largest array of floating solar panels

An inspirational innovation. Proving that sustainable renewable energy is not a myth, Thames Water commissioned Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy to create the largest ever array of floating solar panels to power London’s water treatment plants. HOT’s Zelly Restorick reports.

The goal of Thames Water is to achieve a more sustainable business model and to supply 33% of their energy requirements from clean sources by 2020.

Generating 5.8 million kilo-watt hours during the first year of operation, the QEII floating solar panel array in Walton-on-Thames will help provide clean drinking water to a populace of close to 10 million people in greater London and the south-east of England.

The floating panel array consists of 23,000 solar photovoltaic panels perched atop 61,000 floating platforms, held stable by 177 anchors. The water-supported panels have certain advantages over land based models: they’re less expensive, ‘as panels can be constructed on individual platforms and then attached to the main structure and anchored – and the water body’s cooling effect reduces maintenance hours and costs for the panels, meaning more power at a lower price’, writes Alexandru Micu for ZME Science.

“This will be the biggest floating solar farm in the world for a time – others are under construction,” said Angus Berry, energy manager for Thames Water, which owns the site. “We are leading the way, but we hope that others will follow, in the UK and abroad.”

Japan is building a solar panel array that is even bigger, but their model won’t be built until 2018, so for a while, this is a world record holder.

Fossil fuel divestment

I like to share these innovations with you, to show that progress is being made in the field of sustainable and renewable energy – in the hope that we might see possibilities and opportunities for future energy generation in Hastings and St Leonards. If we want ESCC to stop investing in fossil fuels, we need to provide alternative sources of investment.

Also, over the weekend, I met a man who lives in Orkney, whose aim is to be self-sufficient and live off-grid; with this in mind, he’s attending a tidal and wave energy production gathering in Pembrokeshire. Maybe energy production could be a vital source of future support for our area, if we could find the investors?


For more information about the floating solar panels, see ZME Science’s article: UK set to unveil the world’s largest floating solar array.

PV Magazine website here.

Fossil Free Hastings here.

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Posted 10:32 Wednesday, Mar 9, 2016 In: Energy Wise

1 Comment

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  1. Barbara

    It has to be wind, surely.
    Proven technology, available for small domestic users, plenty of wind on hilly sites or facing the sea. Better than solar since so few of us own a south facing roof. What we need is a wind town, with a demo model on the pier of course.

    Comment by Barbara — Wednesday, Mar 9, 2016 @ 19:34

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