Solar energy and wind energy are often the main competing sources of renewable energy. While wind turbines offer the potential to generate energy around the clock, solar panels are far easier to set up and are entirely safe for birds and bats. To even better the credentials of solar power and make it an attractive option for utility companies around the world, consultancy and certification firm DNV has come up with SUNdy – floating arrays of solar panels that could rival the energy produced by offshore wind farms.
The plan revolves around the development of hexagonal artificial islands that are linked together and support about 4200 solar panels across the area the size of a football stadium. At that size the solar array would be able to generate about 2MW of clean electric power. Moreover, the arrays can be attached together to generate up to 50MW of power, which is enough for 30,000 urban people.
The hexagonal surface of the floating structure comes with 560W thin film solar panels that make the structure light and flexible than conventional glass-based solar modules. The structure also becomes robust enough to move with the waves on the surface of the sea. DNV believes that the solar arrays can be made using prefabricated modules that can ease manufacturing and streamline assembly on the site. The developers believe that SUNdy is also ideal for even the most densely populated countries, where the scarcity of land makes it impossible to set up a solar farm.