Alpine floating solar

Nov 19, 2019 07:54 PM ET
  • Romande Energie is currently creating a floating solar system high in the Alps. In spite of being exposed to unfavorable meteorological conditions, the plant is predicted to generate more power by half compared to lowland-installed solutions.
Alpine floating solar

The Switzerland-based energy supplier is completing the construction of 448-kilowatt grid-tied solar installation floating on the surface of Lac des Toules, situated at the height of over 1,800m. 

This venture is being implemented in the framework of the developer’s further ambition to create a huge floating solar farm in two years. Six years ago, Romande in cooperation with the local municipality began to conduct photovoltaic tests for the future project at this height.

The plant is supposed to generate up to 50 per cent more energy than on-ground PV stations, thanks to property of the snow to reflect sunlight, which will make solar modules much more efficient. In winter, the lake surface gets frozen, so the installation will be subject to severe environment.

The solution consists of 1,400 double-sided panels based on 36 polyethylene-and-aluminum floating frames. The buoyant structures are connected to the lake bottom by means of weights, they can change their position to adjust to the water level. The central inverter and transformer will be installed on one platform, and the rest of 35 frames will support 40 solar panels each. 

The developer is going to obtain patents for the novel technologies it has invented for the photovoltaic array. Two major Swiss research institutes explain that such high-mountain installations are likely to minimize dependence of solar power production on atmospheric conditions. 

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