Floating solar farms could cool down lakes threatened by climate change

The future of solar energy? Giles Exley, Author provided

Giles Exley, Lancaster University

Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency. But there’s something holding this clean energy powerhouse back: space. Unlike fossil fuel power stations, solar farms need a lot of room to generate enough electricity to keep up with demand. Most solar farms are composed of ground-mounted panels that take up land that could be used to grow food or provide habitat for wildlife.

Although electricity and water don’t usually mix, a growing number of floating solar farms are being deployed worldwide. Floating solar panels on a lake or reservoir might sound like an accident waiting to happen, but recent studies have shown the technology generates more electricity compared with rooftop or ground-mounted solar installations. This is thanks to the cooling effect of the water beneath the panels, which can boost how efficiently these systems generate electricity by as much as 12.5%.

That said, lakes and reservoirs are already very important for people and the planet. While these freshwater bodies cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface, they nurture almost 6% of its biodiversity and provide drinking water and crop irrigation that’s vital to billions of people. Worryingly, climate change has raised the surface temperatures of lakes globally by an average of 0.34°C per decade since 1985, encouraging toxic algal blooms, lowering water levels and preventing water mixing between the distinct layers which naturally form in larger and deeper lakes, starving the depths of oxygen.

In the rush to decarbonise energy in order to slow global warming, might turning to floating solar farms simply add to the strain on the world’s precious freshwater reserves? Remarkably, in new research, we found that carefully designed floating solar farms could actually reduce the threats posed by climate change to lakes and reservoirs.

A buffer against warming

Along with colleagues, I used a computer model to simulate how floating solar farms are likely to affect lake water temperatures. Our simulations are based on Windermere, the largest lake in England and one of the most well-studied lakes in the world.

Floating solar farms reduce how much wind and sunlight reaches the lake’s surface, changing many of the processes that occur within. As each floating solar farm has a different design, we ran simulations to see how lake temperatures changed with over 10,000 unique combinations of wind speed and solar radiation.

A raft of solar panels held in place on a reservoir's surface with a mooring rope.
A floating solar farm generating electricity for a water treatment works at a reservoir in north-west England. Giles Exley, Author provided

Our results suggest that the changes to water temperatures caused by floating solar farms could be as big as climate change itself, only in the opposite direction.

A floating solar farm that reduces wind speed and solar radiation by 10% across the entire lake could offset a decade of warming from climate change. Designs that shaded the lake more than sheltered it, by reducing sunlight more than wind, had the greatest cooling effect. Evaporation fell and the lake was mixed more frequently, which helps oxygenate the deeper water.

These effects might vary depending on a lake’s depth, surface area and location. But ecological processes in lakes are most affected by wind speed and sunlight, which is what our simulations focused on.

Global potential

While most of our simulations indicated a win-win for lakes and floating solar farms, some suggested undesirable side effects. In a small number of simulations, we found that floating solar farms that reduced wind speed at the lake’s surface more than they reduced sunlight might actually mimic or amplify the effects of climate change, increasing how long deeper lakes remain stratified. Thankfully, we think the careful design of floating solar farms should reduce these risks.

Floating solar power has grown more than a hundredfold in the past five years, reaching 2.6 gigawatts of installed capacity across 35 countries. If just 1% of the surface area of all human-made water bodies (which are easier to access and typically less ecologically sensitive than natural lakes) was covered by floating solar panels, it could generate 400 gigawatts – enough electricity to power 44 billion LED light bulbs for a year.

Floating solar is likely to make an important contribution to the decarbonisation of the world’s energy supplies. In a stroke of serendipity, our research suggests this could have the added benefit of offsetting part of the damage to lakes caused by rising temperatures.

Still, our simulations only covered the physical effects of floating solar, while other questions remain unresolved. How would floating solar farms interact with other lake uses, such as sport or aquaculture? How would the wildlife sharing the lake fare? And which lakes are best suited to hosting a floating solar farm? The work to fully understand the potential of this technology is only just beginning.

Giles Exley, Associate Lecturer of Energy and Environment, Lancaster University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Kevin
April 14, 2021 2:03 pm

If solar and wind are so cheap, why aren’t they lowering electricity bills? Why aren’t factories that make solar panels and wind turbines powered by renewables?

Eisenhower
Reply to  Kevin
April 14, 2021 3:17 pm

Solar and wind are cheap but generate less than half the day. Another reason is many utiliies when going renewable are closing cuurent plants leave millions to billions in stranded costs that must be paid for by the ratepayers in essense forcing customers to pay for generation twice. This same effect will occur during transition to electric vehicles and many perfectly fine cars may be just thrown away.

The Saint
Reply to  Eisenhower
April 14, 2021 6:03 pm

This article is just chock full of incorrect assumptions and statements. Next.

TBR
Reply to  The Saint
April 14, 2021 6:43 pm

Not sure I’ve read a more lame post / paper on WUWT ever.
As you’ve said, Saint, this post is overflowing with nonsensical assumptions and inaccuracies.

But that’s standard fare for today’s lefties and the whole of global media.

Read and listen carefully folks. There’s a tremendous amount of BS out there these days.

Just ask Lester Holt, total loser that he is.

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  TBR
April 14, 2021 10:05 pm

Yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s like these idiots live on another planet where magical things happen…it’s certainly not the one I know. The distressing thing is these people actually get funding for this ridiculous research, again and again and again…

AndyHce
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
April 15, 2021 3:18 am

What’s the complaint? It isn’t as though anything requiring sunlight lives in lakes. Why, I bet you could utilize the same principles by putting solar panels above vegetable gardens and alfalfa fields.

Climate believer
Reply to  TBR
April 14, 2021 11:07 pm

Yes, these people are so dumb, reminds me of another “great” idea, solar roads.
We all know how well that turned out, spoiler, it didn’t.

Bryan A
Reply to  The Saint
April 14, 2021 8:49 pm

As Solar Panels age do they release measurable amounts of their toxic metals into the environment?
If so, wouldn’t that act to toxify the drinking water supply and destroy biodiversity?
Not to mention all the Coal Mining necessary purify the Silicon for PV panels

griff
Reply to  The Saint
April 15, 2021 12:59 am

which are?

Meab
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 10:44 am

For one, it claims that *toxic* algal blooms are increasing as lakes warm. That’s misleading.. *Toxic* algal blooms, the kinds that kill fish, are often LESS poisonous as the water temperature increases. Also, experiments done with floating plastic speres on reservoirs in the US southwest in an attempt to reduce evaporation totally failed and were abandoned. Griff, you need to spend more time reading and less time writing.

ironargonaut
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 9:58 pm

That the solar panels themselves don’t generate heat for starters. This is why they are more efficient on lakes, they transfer the excess heat to the water. This is also why raising them from a roof instead of lying them flat is more efficient. The air underneath dissipates the heat. How could you even read this and not notice they left out the solar panels themselves as a source of heat? Everything that uses electricity generates heat.

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:06 am

At least you did not like your own comment this time.

Dean
Reply to  The Saint
April 15, 2021 11:56 am

Maybe listing some of them would make your post a lot more relevant.

Dennis
Reply to  Eisenhower
April 14, 2021 9:44 pm

Best between 10 am and 2 pm on cooler and clear sky days.

Earthling2
Reply to  Dennis
April 15, 2021 9:21 am

It’s Daylight Savings Time that throws solar for a loop. /s

H.R.
Reply to  Earthling2
April 15, 2021 3:27 pm

Yup. You get an extra hour of sunshine so solar becomes even cheaper.

[Must.Keep.Straight.Face……Must.Keep…. aaaargh! Can’t do it.]
🤣 🤣 🤣

cliffyk
Reply to  Eisenhower
April 14, 2021 10:59 pm

Sunlight and wind are “free”, but so are fossil fuels. It is the costs of leasing, recovery and processing that create their value…

menace
Reply to  cliffyk
April 15, 2021 9:03 am

No, it is their usefulness to the end user that creates value. Simply “getting it out of the ground” does not create any value or demand for it. You only bother to take it out of the ground because it has some value worth the cost of taking it out of the ground. People aren’t buying dirt just because someone digs it up.

Finding or creating other uses for the extracted product (plastics, fertilizer, chemical feed-stocks, etc.) can increase value or demand. But that requires research and effort beyond just taking it out of the ground.

very old white guy
Reply to  Eisenhower
April 15, 2021 7:14 am

Solar and wind are not cheap, they are very expensive when compared with fossil fuels and cannot be made without fossil fuels.

griff
Reply to  Kevin
April 15, 2021 12:58 am

They are, in places where they are extensively deployed. That would obviously exclude the backward and technologically unadvanced USA…

Eisenhower
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 2:27 pm

They are extensively deployed in states like Califonia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey…I could go on. Guess which way their rates have been going?

As for outside the USA look up “Advanced Countries” such as Spain, Germany, Italy care to guess which way their rates have gone up?

Hint: Not down, flat or slightly up.

LdB
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 1:00 am

Yeah everyone should follow the UK because it’s recent history has been a tale of great decisions … ROFL.

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:09 am

And yet another lie from you. Not surprising, lies are all you got.

Kpar
Reply to  2hotel9
April 17, 2021 1:20 pm

Intentional lies or just stupidity? The world wants to know…

Brooks H Hurd
Reply to  Kevin
April 16, 2021 8:43 am

It is 0730 and there is no marine layer this morning. My Tesla app indicates that my rooftop PV array is producing 400 watts of electricity which is roughly what my house idles at. This is the first energy produced by the panels since yesterday evening at 1830. That’s 11 hours daily for some electricity production. 400 watts from a 3,200 watt capacity array is only a fraction of the possible production.

The problem is that fixed rooftop systems are not perpendicular to the sun’s rays and therefore will never produce their nameplate power. The graph shows the production yesterday in yellow and the consumption in blue (or green). The solar production exceeded 50% of capacity for about 4 hours yesterday. To use solar power to run a factory you would only have production operating between 0800 and 1600 in the Summer, and much shorter hours in the Winter. Cloudy days would not have much production at all.

The capacity factor of my system is 15.5% over 5 years. This is a typical factor for fixed PV systems from what I have read. Winter production is roughly 30% of Summer production. I spoke to a neighbor who was the manager of a PG&E power plant. He explained that because of all the rooftop solar systems California has a surplus of electricity between 10:00 and 14:00. This means that California’s electricity producers need to pay the grid to take the excess power. After 16:00, California has a deficit in power production and has to buy power from the grid. This deficit is because California only produces 70% of the electricity that it consumes.

Using solar panels to run a factory that produces solar panels would be very inefficient. The work day might be 8:00 to 16:00 in the Summer, but they would be much shorter in the winter and on cloudy days. You would need substantial battery backup to run a lights, monitoring systems and maintenance during the non-solar production times. Heating the plant in the winter would be a problem, since winter has much reduced solar power production and much increased electricity demand.

Screenshot_20210416-074523_Tesla.jpg
chris
Reply to  Kevin
April 16, 2021 9:14 am

wow, lots of ad hominen attacks but very little that actually address the issue raised.

The article makes sense; solar panels convert (some of) the energy in sunlight into electricity. Conservation implies that electrical energy is no longer available to heat the surface it would have fallen upon. Hence cooling.

I don’t have a citation, but recall reading that solar panels on rooftops of big box stores and the like reduce cooling bills, and ambient temperature.

Does that make sense?

2hotel9
Reply to  chris
April 17, 2021 5:36 am

If it makes so much sense then put it on your lake. Putz.

ironargonaut
Reply to  chris
April 21, 2021 9:41 pm

No, the are more efficient because they transfer heat to the water. Lying solar panels flat on a roof doesn’t reduce heat transfer

David K
April 14, 2021 2:03 pm

Right! Kill all the plants in the shade of the floating panels! Release the carbon!

griff
Reply to  David K
April 15, 2021 1:00 am

In the UK these are put on drinking water reservoirs.

which don’t have vast amounts of aquatic plant life. which is probably a good thing.

WBrowning
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 10:22 am

Like the “Shade Balls” floating on Los Angeles Reservoir in that youtube video I keep getting in my queue.

ironargonaut
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 10:06 pm

Nice switch a roo. Because “global implications” and modeling based on the largest natural lake in England obviously only applies to drinking water reservoirs.<sarcasm> Most of reservoirs for drinking water near me are on natural rivers and streams.

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:03 am

And yet migrating waterfowl land on them. And liking your own comments is quite desperate of you.

David Chorley
April 14, 2021 2:04 pm

So the solar farms prevent the penetration of solar energy into the water which then prevents photosynthesis in the plant life of the lake which reduces oxygenation of the water which kills off the fish and turns lake Windermere into a stagnant dead pool. What would Nancy Blackett say?

Chris Bock
Reply to  David Chorley
April 14, 2021 5:30 pm

I have swam on Lake Windermere back in the 1970’s, even in August the lake water is little more than 60 degrees F.

PCman999
Reply to  Chris Bock
April 14, 2021 10:44 pm

Plankton and plants in the water make oxygen – fish need it. That’s why the article tries to concentrate on manmade reservoirs even though they also mentioned lakes in general.

Jit
Reply to  David Chorley
April 15, 2021 12:33 am

There may well be unintended consequences along these lines as you say. Respiration exceeding photosynthesis would make the lake less productive and rather anoxic for a while at least. Interrupting the wind shear would stop mixing in winter which presumably would leave nutrients locked at the bottom. Stratification might favour undesirables like blue-green algae.

I wonder if birds will crash into these panels, mistaking them for water? There seems to be a long list of potential objections here.

Oldseadog
Reply to  David Chorley
April 15, 2021 2:08 am

Nancy’s reply would be to drill holes in the floatation and sink the thing.
But if it goes ahead, how are they going to stop all the ducks, geese, coots and swans from sitting on the panels? Also there doesn’t seem to be any flexibility according to the picture, and with the wind in the right direction you can get quite big waves on Windermere.

April 14, 2021 2:05 pm

We should move the Earth closer to the sun so solar works better!

ozspeaksup
Reply to  astonerii
April 15, 2021 5:24 am

Ex R needs ideas like that!

Sebastian Magee
Reply to  astonerii
April 15, 2021 6:35 am

I think I remember hearing about a project to build a solar plant orbiting around L1 and sending the energy back to earth with a giant laser. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that.

Rhee
Reply to  Sebastian Magee
April 15, 2021 9:00 am

That idea has been talked about for many decades since man achieved space travel. As I recall, the transmission beam is microwave, not laser. One problem not sufficiently addressed is whether the beam is destructive if any animal or manmade object happens to pass through the beam since it’s a teeny bit more powerful than the microwaves that make your popcorn pop.

TonyG
Reply to  Rhee
April 15, 2021 10:30 am

lol you just gave me the image of putting a cob of popcorn on the end of a stick and sticking it into the beam to pop 🙂

ironargonaut
Reply to  Rhee
April 15, 2021 10:07 pm

I read that same book. Used the microwaves to fry the alien invaders.

Tom in Toronto
April 14, 2021 2:10 pm

Utility-scale Solar prices rose 10% this year after dropping 80% the previous 10 years.
Energy is fundamental. There will be less and less cheap, efficient and reliable fossil fuel power available, so all commodities will continue to inevitably increase in cost.
Meanwhile, all the greenies and alarmunist governments have baked in perpetually cheaper solar, wind, and batteries into their Paris agreement targets and ‘net zero’ calculations.

(Rystad Energy – “Why are Solar Projects Becoming More Expensive?” https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Are-Solar-Projects-Becoming-More-Expensive.html)

Last edited 5 months ago by Tom in Toronto
April 14, 2021 2:12 pm

What do you do with the farms when the cooling starts? And what does it do to the ecology of the lake in the meantime, like the organisms in the lake that feed on solar?

griff
Reply to  Rafe Champion
April 15, 2021 1:01 am

but it isn’t going to start for thousands and thousands of years, thanks to human produced heating

Paul Penrose
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 10:06 am

Just like everything else, you just pulled that out of your ass. It is astonishing how willfully ignorant you are; it must take a real effort to stay that way despite the vast knowledge of the internet being available to you. But perhaps I’m being too harsh; I suppose it is possible you have a severe learning disability, in which case you have my sympathies. OTOH, I would suggest you stick to commenting on subjects in which you have some competency, if there are any.

ironargonaut
Reply to  griff
April 15, 2021 10:14 pm

But, I thought the same “heating” was supposed to overpower all natural sources of “cooling”. Tell “the pause” came, then well actually da heat was gettin swallowed up by da oceans by some of them der currents or such. So, one asks well couldn’t those currents then also have caused the “heating”. Crickets chirping.

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:08 am

Ain’t been outside lately, have you?

J N
April 14, 2021 2:21 pm

Someone teach these guys that the true “lungs” of the planet are Algae and Cyanobacteria. The madness they propose, considering O2, it’s equivalent or worst than cut trees in rain forests.

Frank from NoVA
April 14, 2021 2:32 pm

“While most of our simulations indicated a win-win for lakes and floating solar farms…”

More GIGO. I don’t know where most of this “capacity” is located, but I’m fairly confident that the vast majority of lake-side property owners in the US would go absolutely ballistic if someone tried to install floating panels where they live.

PaulH
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 14, 2021 4:14 pm

Simulations (models, etc.) can only say what they are programmed to say.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 14, 2021 4:49 pm

In the mad rush for America to become “net free” by 2050- those property owners might lose any rights they have on their lakes.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 14, 2021 7:56 pm

Ah, highly unlikely. Do you have any idea what decent lakeside property costs? Very wealthy people. Very big contributors to Democrats.

The bird killers off of Martha’s Vineyard will (actually) be constructed first.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  writing observer
April 15, 2021 3:42 am

Well, true enough for the “climate emergency theocracy” of Massachusetts- but maybe not so true for the rest of the country- where not so wealthy people might not be able to resist. The elites of Martha’s Vineyard spent many years and a lot of money fighting the bird choppers. Here in Mass., they prefer to build solar “farms” in the lower income areas- like where I live, that is, Franklin County, a rural area where most people have low paying service jobs or no jobs at all.

Rud Istvan
April 14, 2021 2:32 pm

This article is dumb on many levels.

First, cooler solar cells are not 12.5% more efficient. For single layer PN junctions, the Shockley-Queissner limit is about 31% and is a quantum effect not impacted by temperature. The best monocrystalline are already at 26% in production. So that claim is physics impossibilium.

Second, they are NOT the cheapest source of grid electricity. For details, see my guest post over at Climate Etc. But the essence is, the sun does not shine at night, there is a duck curve, and the duck curve costs are not included. If the claim were true, solar subsidies would be unnecessary.

Third, the article itself says lakes are a great source of biodiversity. That depends on the sunlight producing the food for that biodiversity. Block it with solar arrays, the the lake biodiversity dies.

Finally, the claim is that lake temperatures have been increasing 0.34C per decade since 1985. Doubt that is true. But IF it is, comprises proof warming is solar and albedo, NOT the greenhouse effect. Because all bodies of water are not warmed by air (~1/1000 air water thermal mass ratio), only by insolation.

This guy is too ignorant to know that he scored an own goal, aka shot himself down.

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 14, 2021 3:04 pm

Learn to read Mr. Istvan. If a solar panel converts 16% of the incoming photons to electric power, and that is increased to 18% by floating them on water, then the panels are 12.5% more efficient.
..
Math is fundamental…
..
(18-16)/16 = 0.125 = 12.5%

Last edited 5 months ago by Roger Taguchi
R_G
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 5:37 pm

Learn to read propaganda. It is absolute increase of only 2%.

Redge
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 10:56 pm

Math is fundamental…

And clearly not your forte

How about addressing the other points raised by Rud?

Earthling2
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 15, 2021 9:40 am

Slightly more efficient for the 4-5 hours they produce max around noon, (for cooling the solar panel) but it is a 24 hour day, on average they don’t produce anything for at least 12 hours a day. So the 12.5% efficiency gain (if that is even true) is a red herring, as they don’t account for the 24 hour day which you would have to do to arrive at any overall net efficiency gains.

Eisenhower
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 14, 2021 3:26 pm

The 12% number is a loaded number. As solar panel’s temperature increases its efficiency goes down. When local air temps near 100 degrees you may see a drop-off in the 12%-15% range for a few hours. So a few days a year it would see significant increase but over course of a year 1-2% is more in line.

This is just marketing garbage. I don’t think most people realize just how big and politically connected so called green companies are involved in politics and policy. The see this as the biggest opportunity since the industrial revolution and giving money to politicians is easier than developing and marketing their products.

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  Eisenhower
April 14, 2021 4:25 pm

When local air temps are 70 degrees, I dare you to walk barefoot on a black asphalt driveway at noon on a sunny day. The point is the panels are a lot hotter than air temps in direct sunlight.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 4:42 pm

So the extra heat from the solar panel will raise the temperature of the lake since the cells have a lower reflectivity than the surface of the water. The basic premise of the article is incorrect.

PCman999
Reply to  Matthew Bergin
April 14, 2021 10:50 pm

It’s just saying the panels will be cooled by the lake or reservoir. The lake has a lot of heat capacity and would only increase a fraction of a degree.

TonyG
Reply to  PCman999
April 15, 2021 10:07 am

But isn’t the premise here that the LAKES would be cooled?
“changes to water temperatures caused by floating solar farms could be as big as climate change itself, only in the opposite direction.” – so, cooling.

Which is exactly the opposite of “panels will be cooled by the lake or reservoir.”, which they also say (as you pointed out).

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 8:29 pm

Ooooh, what a dare! Give me a break.

Eisenhower
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 15, 2021 2:36 pm

I didn’t say other wise. I used air temp as most people are familar with air temps not temp of a solar panel.The point was While there are short periods where lowing the temp will increase output they are a small fraction of 8760 hours a year, the added gain of efficiency while high a few days a year is very small over the course of the year. maybe 2%

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 14, 2021 4:00 pm

I’m pretty sure the quoted increase is 12.5% of the 26%, bringing the total efficiency up to around 29%. Maybe.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
April 14, 2021 6:10 pm

Because they are horizontal, the cosine loss will more than swamp out any gains from temperature.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 14, 2021 4:27 pm

Re “all bodies of water are not warmed by air (~1/1000 air water thermal mass ratio), only by insolation.” That would explain why the oceans are not warmng too

Reply to  Roger Caiazza
April 15, 2021 7:23 am

But the air is warmed or cooled by a body of water. Cover it and you lose the moderating effect on local weather. A major factor of local climate.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 14, 2021 8:55 pm

PV Magazine (.DE trade mag) is a source, should be a huge clue.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 15, 2021 3:12 am

Light oil and surfactant pollution of water surfaces reduces evaporation and lowers albedo. The surface warms. Lakes subject to sewage or road waste water run-off will be polluted with oil and surfactant. Are they warming faster than global average? If so we know what’s missing from the AGW hypothesis.

JF
(Judith Curry tried to get an aerosol sensor over the Deepwater Horizon spill to see if aerosols were reduced by surface smoothing. Won’t work for lakes but could explain why the blip.)

Greg61
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 15, 2021 9:17 am

Also – the Great Lakes – the largest fresh water system – are up several feet compared to 1985. I would know since my dock would now be under water if the rising lake hadn’t lifted it off the crib last spring

April 14, 2021 2:32 pm

No light entering the water means no food being formed in that water.
Certain death for those waters, especially when solar cells are broken and fall into that water.
They would happily blight their landscapes in their idiocy.

Along with colleagues, I used a computer model to simulate how floating solar farms are likely to affect lake water temperatures. Our simulations are based on Windermere, the largest lake in England and one of the most well-studied lakes in the world.”

Arrogance, hubris, presumptions, confirmation bias and self satisfaction silly programs focusing on their presumptive temperatures and ignoring benthic food chains.

DonK31
Reply to  ATheoK
April 14, 2021 3:07 pm

Great minds run in the same gutter.

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  ATheoK
April 14, 2021 3:24 pm

“especially when solar cells are broken and fall into that water.”……Please tell us Mr. ATheoK how does the silicon from a broken solar cell cause certain death?

fred250
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 3:39 pm

ROFLMAO..

The COMPLETE and UTTER IGNORANCE of the bog-standard AGW leftist shill, is yet again brought to the light of day by RogTag.

Cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride, lilicon tetrachloride – those are some of the toxic compounds present in solar panels

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  fred250
April 14, 2021 4:27 pm

WRONG, not in mono or poly crystalline SILICON panels. Do not confuse thin film solar panels with silicon ones.

Redge
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 10:59 pm

So we’re concerned about plastic in the oceans but not about PV in our drinking water?

griff
Reply to  fred250
April 15, 2021 1:02 am

but they aren’t leaching into the water are they?

Unlike residue from florida phosphate extraction

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:05 am

And your proof of this claim is,,,,,,,,? Oh, yea, you have no proof, only desperation and dishonesty.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 15, 2021 3:27 am

The silicon is dissolved into the water. In spring when the diatom bloom occurs the limitation on diatom growth (diatoms’ limiting nutrient is dissolved silica) is later on the season, delaying the blooms of non-diatom phytoplankton.
Diatoms use a C4-like carbon fixation process which it discriminates less against heavier C isotopes: this means their C content is relatively higher in 13C, but the overall of weight of C (C12 plus C13) is less, so when the diatoms die they export less C to the abyss but that smaller amount is heavier in C13. More C is left to float around in the atmosphere as CO2 but this gas will include relatively more C12.

Result: the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases and it has relatively more C12. Secondary result: the signal is misinterpreted as caused by fossil fuel burning, introduction of panic measures to reduce the use of fossil fuel, thus raising the cost of heating, clean water etc.

Final result. Millions, mainly the old, the poor and the sick, die when they cannot afford warm homes and clean water.

Cold homes, dirty water. Certain death.

JF

Tom
April 14, 2021 2:33 pm

And these solar farms could then power full spectrum light bulb arrays mounted under the farms to help sustain the aquatic plants and sea life under the farms that are blocked from sunlight by the solar panels.

PCman999
Reply to  Tom
April 14, 2021 10:56 pm

🙂 awesome! About as creative as covering nature with wind and solar to charge batterries and also make h2 to burn in turbines or fuel cells (backed up with inefficient standby gas plants), instead of just using ch4 in very clean and efficient combined cycle plants. Rube Goldberg would be jealous!

Independent
Reply to  Tom
April 17, 2021 6:32 am

Genius! It’s just like how I plan to make it big by marketing my new invention, windmills attached to cars that generate power as you drive!

n.n
April 14, 2021 2:35 pm

Environmentalism is a disorder where the people and our posterity, flora, fauna, and geographical features identify as Green.

Clay Sanborn
April 14, 2021 2:37 pm

Electricity mixed with water; no problems there.

griff
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
April 15, 2021 1:02 am

No, none at all in the hundreds of operating floating solar farms

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:02 am

You show your desperation and dishonesty when you “like” your own comments. Oh, and give us an actual list of these hundreds of floating solar farms.

Petit_Barde
April 14, 2021 2:38 pm

How would floating solar farms interact with other lake uses, such as sport or aquaculture?”

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DonK31
April 14, 2021 2:41 pm

I would question the shade of the solar panels and their effect on the plant life growing in those lakes and the effect of the reduction of plant life on the fish and amphibians that live there.

I would also question the stability of those floating platforms of panels during storms. Will they sink? In times of flood will they wash away or if they are anchored will water wash over them and destroy electronics or cause heavy metals to leech into the lake.

Before long, environmentalists will be yelling that this is unacceptable.

philincalifornia
Reply to  DonK31
April 14, 2021 3:02 pm

I think you meant phony-environmentalists ?

Disputin
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 15, 2021 2:22 am

The “phony-” part is completely redundant!

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  DonK31
April 14, 2021 3:26 pm

What “heavy metals” are in silicon solar panels?

fred250
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 3:39 pm

Remain in your pit of IGNORANCE. rogtag

Cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride, lilicon tetrachloride – those are some of the toxic compounds present in solar panels

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  fred250
April 14, 2021 4:30 pm

You are the ignorant one. None of those substances are in mono or poly silicon solar panels.

George Ellis
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 15, 2021 6:32 am

Si is the base. There has to be a semiconductor then etched/silkscreened onto it to make the circuit for the power collection. And that includes many of the above. The layer then has to be protected and reduced in reflectivity. That coating has other materials. You are the ignorant one.

Mr.
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 4:00 pm

What “heavy metals” are in silicon solar panels?

Roger, here’s a few clues for you –

when you put your ear on a solar panel, you can sometimes hear tracks by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, some Judas Priest, a bit of Motorhead, and occasionally a blast of Megadeth.

Give it a try sometime Roger. It will clear your head of all that looney green propaganda.

PCman999
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 11:04 pm

Can you provide us with links to what exactly is in solar panels these days? There are various chemistries mentioned in the press as future saviours of mankind, but just the top selling ones over the past decade would be sufficient. Another worry would be what happens to the panels when dumped in landfills, panels not being worth the effort to recycle. What chemicals will be leaching into the soil and water table? I’m all for researching and developing new tech, but turbines and solar should not have been forced on utilities.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  DonK31
April 14, 2021 4:55 pm

“Before long, environmentalists will be yelling that this is unacceptable.”
Nah, they’re already too blinded by this “climate emergency” religion to see the problems with solar on water.

ACParker
April 14, 2021 2:44 pm

I think the greatest possible benefit, reduced evaporation, is underemphasized in the article. Risks of stratification could be easily overcome with existing, commonly available technology.

Richard Page
Reply to  ACParker
April 14, 2021 3:40 pm

Any lack of evaporation of lake water is likely to be offset by a lack of rainwater going into the lake.

GB Bari
Reply to  Richard Page
April 14, 2021 5:01 pm

I don’t think the overall concept has wide application, but I do think rainwater would collect on top of the panels only for a very short time (few minutes?) before it runs off between the panels and down into the lake water. Doubt seriously that the engineering of a large array will result in a solid impervious surface that runs contiguously from outer edge to outer edge of the entire array. Structural integrity & stability of an array would be nearly impossible without flexibility in all planes.

PCman999
Reply to  ACParker
April 14, 2021 11:08 pm

I think the effects of reduced evaporation is also downplayed – rainfall downwind of the projects will be reduced, leading to disastrous effects on plant life.

john
April 14, 2021 2:49 pm

Just like the chopper blades on a wind farm, this is another attack on birds and other species that live in, on, and around lakes. Where is the Audubon Society when you need them?

Just try building lake front cabins or running a road along a lake shore and watch all the environmental impact studies, law suits, and governmental interference you run afoul of. But giant blenders for birds and cementing over lakes are OK because it’s for our future. HA!

Reply to  john
April 14, 2021 4:57 pm

Have they never seen a swan touch down on a lake?

Redge
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 14, 2021 11:03 pm

Have you ever seem a swan touch down on an icy road that looks like a lake?

Solar panels will probably look the same to a swan

2hotel9
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 15, 2021 3:26 am

Or 80-100 Canada Geese? And who will be cleaning all that goose crap off them? Hard enough to hire people to clean it of walks and docks.

Alan Robertson
April 14, 2021 2:53 pm

They’ve done it again, such creative people! This idea may even surpass their solar road concept.

(Does this really need a sarc tag?)

Last edited 5 months ago by Alan Robertson
Tom in Toronto
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 14, 2021 2:59 pm

Only if they say it doubles as a surface to swim and boat upon, has heating elements to melt snow inefficiently, and LEDs to entertain the guests.

Last edited 5 months ago by Tom in Toronto
Jon R
Reply to  Tom in Toronto
April 14, 2021 5:28 pm

I haven’t laughed that hard in a while

Talisker
April 14, 2021 2:57 pm

Cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride, lilicon tetrachloride – those are some of the toxic compounds present in solar panels. Those panels are exposed to the elements, wind, water, rain, so you have to wonder just how much of this will seep into the lakes.

This approach is very typical of the green dogma, overreacting to phantom threats while ignoring (or compounding) real environmental pollution, and implementing expensive, impractical solutions that will have worse effects on the environment…

[invalid email. switched to a valid one-mod]

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  Talisker
April 14, 2021 3:28 pm

Poly and monocrystaline silicon solar panels do not contain cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium or gallium (di)selenide.

Last edited 5 months ago by Roger Taguchi
fred250
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 3:44 pm

silicon tetrachloride, a byproduct of producing crystalline silicon, is also highly toxic.

But leftist shills DON’T CARE about these txic chemical, do you rogtag. !

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  fred250
April 14, 2021 4:32 pm

That byproduct is contained in/at the factory, and doesn’t get into the environment. None of it is in the panels themselves.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
April 14, 2021 4:58 pm

Where do they dispose of that byproduct?

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 14, 2021 5:52 pm

SiCl4 + 2H2O ==> SiO2 + 4HCl

then re-use the hydrochloric acid

The Saint
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 14, 2021 6:34 pm

In the river waste water, of course.

Derg
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 15, 2021 12:59 am

Where does China dispose?

never mind, they will never tell.

H.R.
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 15, 2021 3:50 pm

In lakes?
😜

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Talisker
April 14, 2021 5:00 pm

CdTe is deposited in micrograms by chemical vapor deposition CVD and then sealed by other layers in the process. But then that would require you to get a ChemE degree and read up on the technology and all the safety certifications for this at EPA and EU. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.

PCman999
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 14, 2021 11:16 pm

So for solar panels covering our drinking water we’re supposed to just believe everything will be fine, nothing will leach out and nothing weird will grow in the dark depths, while every other normal energy endeavour gets regulated and litigated to death. Bare minimum they would have to run a decade long trial on a suitable water body with frequent monitoring. And I would want the panels to be double hulled too 🙂

ResourceGuy
Reply to  PCman999
April 15, 2021 6:41 am

Floating solar is an off beat application that is more distraction than reality.

Gary Russell
April 14, 2021 2:57 pm

Do you reckon you could jump those things if I get the boat fast enough. Sure…hold my beer. Picking up broken glass and toxic waste from the bottom of the lake couldnt be that hard.

philincalifornia
April 14, 2021 3:06 pm

our research suggests this could have the added benefit of offsetting part of the damage to lakes caused by rising temperatures.”

You have to completely damage the lakes to offset part of the damage to lakes?

Sounds about right …. in Libtardia.

Robber
April 14, 2021 3:09 pm

Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency. “In the best locations and with access to the most favourable policy support and finance, the IEA says solar can now generate electricity “at or below” $20 per megawatt hour.”
The IEA says that new utility-scale solar projects now cost $30-60/MWh in Europe and the US and just $20-40/MWh in China and India, where “revenue support mechanisms” such as guaranteed prices are in place.
Of course what they dont report is the cost of keeping the lights on when the sun isn’t shining.
The “levelised” cost of solar must include the cost of 100% backup, otherwise known as diaptachable power plants.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Robber
April 14, 2021 5:01 pm

“The “levelised” cost of solar must include the cost of 100% backup, otherwise known as diaptachable power plants.”

Yet, places like Massachusetts claim there will be no dispatachable power plants because there must be ZERO “carbon pollution”. You know, the battery thing- regardless of cost or the question of where to put them.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Robber
April 15, 2021 4:15 am

The answer is to impose a contract on any provider to the Grid (UK terminology). If they want to sell they must guarantee a capacity factor of…90%, 92%, which means they have to pay for backup power.

JF

greensand
April 14, 2021 3:10 pm

Everything, but everything man floats on water eventually sinks

Redge
Reply to  greensand
April 14, 2021 11:08 pm

I’ve had a few floaters that refuse to sink

Patrick B
Reply to  greensand
April 15, 2021 6:11 am

Yep; I’d love to see what they calculated for maintenance costs of floating solar cells.

rah
April 14, 2021 3:18 pm

What’s going to prevent these things from being covered with bird droppings and nesting birds. That’s what happens to the floating swimming platforms lake house owners put out unless they take precautions.

Then of course there is the hazard to navigation. And they are going to have to enforce a no wake zone around the things.

And as mentioned above the blocking of sunlight to aquatic flora if the installations are floated in places where the water is shallow enough.

Richard Page
Reply to  rah
April 14, 2021 3:47 pm

Windermere is a ribbon lake, comprising 2 main basins; one averages around 78ft depth, the other a little over 100ft depth. It’s fed by 3 rivers and has one outlet, the river Leven, which drains into Morecambe bay on the Irish sea. How shallow does the water have to be?

rah
Reply to  Richard Page
April 14, 2021 4:37 pm

Shallow enough for plants to get enough sunlight for photosynthesis. That depth can vary considerably depending on water clarity. And the vast majority of lakes in this country aren’t even close to 100 ft. deep.

And there is another problem for lakes that are far enough north or which are fed by rivers coming from higher altitudes. ICE! A lake that freezes over will destroy those things. Or a lake fed by a river that could discharge significant sized pieces of ice into the lake could be a real problem also.

PCman999
Reply to  Richard Page
April 14, 2021 11:22 pm

Plankton don’t care how deep the water is, and are responsible for most of the o2 and fish food in the water

PCman999
Reply to  rah
April 14, 2021 11:18 pm

+100 unintended consequences

TonyG
Reply to  rah
April 15, 2021 10:11 am

Given what solar farms do to the local air temperatures, I’m curious what effect they have in this scenario.

Gunga Din
April 14, 2021 3:28 pm

To build a dam, a road, a bridge … just about anything in the US is supposed to require an environmental impact study.
Why do the green things always seem to get a pass?

Trying to Play Nice
April 14, 2021 3:28 pm

“Worryingly, climate change has raised the surface temperatures of lakes globally by an average of 0.34°C per decade since 1985, encouraging toxic algal blooms, lowering water levels and preventing water mixing between the distinct layers which naturally form in larger and deeper lakes, starving the depths of oxygen.”

This idiot must not have heard of the Great Lakes where the water has been at record levels the past few years. I was at a few places on Lake Michigan where the parking lots were underwater and you had to swim out to the dock to get to your boat.

David Kamakaris
April 14, 2021 3:33 pm

Someone please explain how climate change adversely affects lakes?

George Ellis
Reply to  David Kamakaris
April 15, 2021 6:38 am

Ssshhhh. They have a solution. Who cares what the problem is. /sarc

April 14, 2021 3:46 pm

They model floating solar plants. This is something that would be easy to verify with a pilot project. I remember that “researchers” were surprised that an average temperature in a solar plant in Arizona was higher than in a field next to it.

dk_
April 14, 2021 3:55 pm

100% wrong. Solar panels emit heat to the back of the panel. Evaporation reduces water temperature, but requires free flow of air, rather than a reduction of wind speed on the surface. Plankton and algae absorb CO2, “capturing” carbon from the atmosphere and water, and releasing oxygen. This model must represent solar panels as shade only, not as an active system that absorbs and emits heat, and requires substantial maintenance and cleaning — even more so in a marine environment than on land. The cost of recovery and retirement must also be greater. I don’t know the qualifications for a lecturer of Energy and Environment, but I suspect that technical engineering expertise is not part of it.

Alan
April 14, 2021 3:59 pm

Accident waiting to happen. I aggree with that.

Reply to  Alan
April 14, 2021 4:52 pm

I live in Western Canada at 4,000 ft. above sea level. Do they have ice-friendly panels? Can you put an ice-fishing shack on them?

Jon R
April 14, 2021 4:16 pm

Giles Giles Giels oh where would one even start

ResourceGuy
April 14, 2021 4:31 pm

In much of the world floating solar would hide the garbage and sewage or exist alongside.

Chris Nisbet
April 14, 2021 4:40 pm

These ‘scientists’ really are incredible.
The only seem to see an existential threat from a slight increase in the concentration of a life-giving trace gas, but when it comes to doing some actual destruction to the environment (e.g. blotting out the sun FFS!) they’re all gung-ho.

PCman999
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
April 14, 2021 11:29 pm

They’re just shills for BigWind and Solar, the Subsidy Miners. Like with all the wind farms being decommissioned in Germany recently, because the subsidies ended. So much for green power being affordable. Lots of ‘good’ green jobs slicing up dangerous fiber glass blades and filling up landfills.

tygrus
April 14, 2021 4:42 pm

Aquatic plants (removes CO2, releases O2) across the lake & shade from trees etc near the shore line would be better for the lake, fish, insects & birds than floating solar panels.

2hotel9
April 14, 2021 4:45 pm

The stupid, it burns.

beng135
Reply to  2hotel9
April 15, 2021 7:39 am

Yes. Ludicrous.

ResourceGuy
April 14, 2021 4:47 pm

Go for it …in the Finger Lakes and Lake Michigan next to Chicago. In New Orleans they would shoot at them like they do the Super Dome.

Richard Page
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 15, 2021 4:19 am

On Windermere, less shooting but the many motorboats would chew through the panels. The boating crowd on the lake have no intention of moving and see no reason whatsoever to change.

Terry
April 14, 2021 4:50 pm

And on the shoreline beside, an electrical facility burning wood pellets. Nirvana.

ResourceGuy
April 14, 2021 5:03 pm

Yes, at Loch Ness and don’t forget the fins.

Steve Z
April 14, 2021 5:09 pm

What happens to a floating array of solar panels when strong winds whip up waves on a lake, and water splashes over the top of the solar panels? Would some of this water leave algae or underwater plants behind when it evaporates? Could a floating array of solar panels break loose from its anchors, drift across a lake, and be bashed against the downwind shore by wind and waves?

What happens if a wave washes over the connection between the solar panels and the wires to transmit the electric power to land? Does it cause a short circuit?

What about when the surface of a lake freezes in the winter? On many lakes, expanding ice floes can form heaves (rising ice) when they meet. Could expanding ice crush a floating solar panel? Could snow accumulate on a flat floating solar panel, without sliding off as it would from a sloping solar panel on a roof?

Most solar panels mounted on roofs are tilted to face south, in order to maximize sun angle in the winter. A floating solar panel will always be flat (or temporarily tilted in random directions by waves), so the incident solar angle in winter will be much lower than for a solar panel mounted on a south-facing roof.

Lots of problems to be solved, but let’s see what floats their boat.

yirgach
April 14, 2021 5:20 pm

Alrighty then, the answer is to use sterile bodies of water to float these solar arrays.
That means covering pumped hydro reservoirs with the floating panels.
Not that there’s many of those available…
But it’s a double-win-win!

Earthling2
Reply to  yirgach
April 15, 2021 10:03 am

I too was thinking of a twofer…make these floating solar panels part of a wave generator, so as the waves lift and drop the solar panels, you get solar PV and wave power. Both pretty much useless for grid scale generation.

Kevin R.
April 14, 2021 5:40 pm

Our results suggest that the changes to water temperatures caused by floating solar farms could be as big as climate change itself, only in the opposite direction.

What if there is no temperature change due to climate change because there is no actual climate change.

Last edited 5 months ago by Kevin R.
gringojay
April 14, 2021 5:41 pm

Water saturated with air has 9.1 mg/Lt. of dissolved O2 (oxygen), when the temperature is 20*Celsius (figure 7-10 mg O2 / Lt depending on solubilized ionic compounds, temperature & partial pressure of the oxygen). At the temperature range of 20-23*Celsius micro-organisms consume 0.3-0,4 mg/Lt. of dissolved O2.

Plants that encounter declining O2 respond by increasing synthesis of a precursor molecule (ACC) that can be used to make the plant hormone ethylene (CH2=CH2). The original post’s implication is that floating hydroponic structures will segregate the water underneath from 02 in the air above. O2 oxygen transfers from it’s gas phase to liquid via a gas-liquid interface & on either side of this interface is a layer of stagnation the oxygen must penetrate, become dissolved at the interface & subsequently move through a stagnant liquid film layer into the bulk body of water.

There is a non-linear response to consider. Namely, that although there is more of the ethylene precursor (ACC) as O2 falls (ex: paper bagging avocados restricts O2, so ethylene ripens them faster) it is none-the-less O2 itself which is needed for the conversion of that precursor to ethylene.

All plant tissue has ethylene dynamics. Our common land di-cotyledon plants’ green shoot growth is lessened when ethylene levels are elevated. However, hydro-phytes & rice growth is greater when ethylene levels are elevated. Which is to say that should floating hydroponic stations reduce the dissolved oxygen too low then aquatic plants will waste energy synthesizing a precursor that it can’t fully exploit hormonally.

As for micro-organisms these too require the hormone ethylene. In dividing cells the level is about 1.22 micro-Mole ethylene / hour / gram dry weight of the cell; which peaks as the cells’ growth hits the “stationary” phase (when cell no longer has any change in mass; slowed growth is balanced with cell death). Which, I propose, means that the preceding “deceleration” phase of growth (when the growth rate decreases from phase of cells expanding & dividing) will occur earlier under the floating hydroponic installation.

Last edited 5 months ago by gringojay
Gordon A. Dressler
April 14, 2021 5:49 pm

From the lead sentence of the above article:
“Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency.”

I cannot believe that is true on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) accounting basis, which takes into account things such as the amortized cost of the land, infrastructure, maintenance, etc, over the lifespan of the given power source. I base this conclusion of the very low power generation rate per m^2 of PV panels and the very low utilization rate for PV panels considering average fixed-panel cosine efficiency and the fact that PV-usable sunlight is nowhere close to 12 hours per day and the fact that conversion from relatively low level DC voltage to high voltage AC is required to connect into the major grid transmission lines.

There is also the fact that to be comparable to on-demand sources such as coal and natural gas electric-power generating plant, the cost of massive electrical storage batteries should be factored into the cost of electricity from solar PV power plants.

Given the above, it seems like the LAST thing one would want to do is to float solar PV panel arrays on water! Up go the installation costs, up go the infrastructure costs, up go the maintenance costs, etc.

WR2
April 14, 2021 5:57 pm

Yeah, screw all those migratory birds, fish, and other wildlife. We need to virtue signal.

High Treason
April 14, 2021 6:01 pm

The solar farms will reduce sunlight and oxygen flow in to the lakes. This will have dire consequences for the aquatic ecosystems in those lakes. As for the mix of electricity and water- it is a disaster waiting to happen. Could you imagine the stink when a storm destroys the installation, sending the panels to the bottom of the lake to release the heavy metals from the now destroyed panels. It could result in the lake water becoming unsuitable to drink in the long term!! The cities that rely on that lake water will suddenly have no water supply!!

The risk is just way too high to take. Mind you, the UN have a thing against dams. If dams get contaminated by solar panels, just where are we going to source clean drinking water? How many humans will the planet be able to support if lakes get contaminated by this folly???

Carlo, Monte
April 14, 2021 6:07 pm

This is a really stupid idea, in so many ways.

April 14, 2021 6:08 pm

And cutting off the sunlight to the lake will have no effect on the photic zone and all the other members of the lake ecosystem? Jeez, these people are stupid.

“Lets’ go kill the lake and pretend we are saving it by making green energy and leaking heavy metals into the lake, thus killing EVERYTHING in it. Sounds like a great plan.

Climate has gone up and down for millions of years and they think they have to save the lakes. HUBRIS.

When the next glacial period hits, half of North America will be obliterated, but a degree or two and we are supposed to panic. Idiots.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 14, 2021 8:31 pm

Charles,
I think these guys are secretly jealous of all the environmental disasters the Soviets and Chicoms have gotten away with over the years. Not content to chomp up a few thousand hawks and eagles, as well as countless bats, every year; they now want to try to out do the Lake Baikal disaster and the possible failure of the Three Gorges Dam!

April 14, 2021 6:15 pm

Yes, once you have the solar panels in place, the electricity is cheap, but you have to be an adult and pull up your adult pants and realize that the synthetic materials, heavy metals, mining of heavy metals, the infrastructure of the solar panels and delivering it to the user, and the short lifetime of solar panels, as they dwindle in efficiency, the leaking of heavy metals into the environment as the panels age, and the disposal of huge mountains of un-recyclable dead solar panels all have to be included. Oh, and the ecological foot print of these panels is obscene. Yeah, cheapest energy on the planet, if you are in first grade and believe every lie they tell you.

Wind and solar are the least green energies on the planet, period.

2hotel9
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 15, 2021 3:41 am

Electricity from solar is not cheap at any point, it is vastly expensive.

pat
April 14, 2021 6:24 pm

Wind is anything but cheap. The capital cost is ridiculously high, the life expectancy low, the disposal all but impossible.
Solar cost about 35 cents kilowatt to produce amortizing in the capital and installation cost, coal about a penny.

pat
April 14, 2021 6:25 pm

Winter should be fun.

Colin
April 14, 2021 7:48 pm

As a Marine Biologist this concerns me as these floating solar farms are draining energy and heat from water and the organisms that depend upon it. The stupid – it hurts. I got asked today if I was allergic to anything and I said YES Stupidity

April 14, 2021 7:55 pm

Solar Panels floating on blocks of Styrofoam made from petroleum. Priceless!

observa
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 14, 2021 8:47 pm

The doomsters call that transitioning. Just that they haven’t quite transitioned the lakeside getaway owners and sundry NIMBYS around the idea with their local lakes just yet.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 15, 2021 7:50 am

A 10-cent engineering analysis:

1) the flotation system is an added balance-of-system cost, which must be engineered for the lake environment

2) this is a wet environment that can only increase reliability problems for the PV modules caused by small leakage currents, especially corrosion and loss of insulation—reduced module lifetime and higher costs due to power losses

3) the inter-module string wiring has to be rated for immersion—extra cost

4) horizontal array orientation—greater cosine losses compared with tilted arrays

5) as others here have noted, winter and ice will be a problem that can likely only increase costs

6) because of #2, modules will almost certainly have to be double-glass, i.e. glass sheets for both front and back surfaces—these are twice as heavy, which will affect #1

So this is cheaper? How?

observa
April 14, 2021 8:38 pm

Meanwhile they’re cooling down rooftop solar exports in South Australia-
Solar export limits for Adelaide suburbs with most panels under SA Power Networks trial (msn.com)

DMacKenzie
April 14, 2021 8:53 pm

Interfering with water evaporating from the surface to allow evaporative cooling plus form sunlight reflecting clouds…is just NOT a good idea for controlling the planet’s temperature.

Last edited 5 months ago by DMacKenzie
Jon R
April 14, 2021 8:55 pm

I have to admit this article has me laughing so hard so long it made my week.

John Sandhofner
April 14, 2021 9:12 pm

It is bad enough that we are occupying so much land for wind and solar energy. Now to do it to our lakes is ridiculous. Lakes have their own beauty and this would ruin that affect. These environmental extremists need to be shut down. They are way over the top with their ideas.

The Dark Lord
April 14, 2021 10:28 pm

what warming ? the US has been cool for last 50 years

cliffyk
April 14, 2021 10:56 pm

I have asked this for years, watt happens to a given envioronment when we capture current natural dynamic energy (solar, wind or ??–as opposed to energy that was captured over millions of years), convert it to electricity, and ship it off elsewhere–instead of letting it do what nature intended?

April 14, 2021 11:05 pm

Yep, lets float electric generators on the lake — what could POSSIBLY go wrong with that? (err … waterproofing the solar array, wear on the electrical cabling to shore, maintenance costs, guying the whole thing down during storms, cutting off essential sunlight to aquatic life, no more fishing allowed, etc …)

Climate believer
April 15, 2021 12:34 am

“But there’s something holding this clean energy powerhouse back”:

Let me guess…

It doesn’t work at night, and sometimes even in the day?

It’s efficiency reduces over time?

It involves obtaining an interesting mix of non-green chemicals?

  • hydrochloric acid
  • sulfuric acid
  • nitric acid
  • hydrogen fluoride
  • 1,1,1-trichloroethane
  • acetone
  • gallium arsenide
  • copper-indium-gallium-diselenide
  • cadmium-telluride

It’s great for keeping your RV batteries topped up, but utterly useless for powering a modern civilisation?

Teddy Lee
April 15, 2021 12:36 am

Must have missed original publishing date by two weeks,me thinks.

Peta of Newark
April 15, 2021 12:50 am

Quote:”Giles Exley, Lancaster University
Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency

I’ve said for a long time, ever since I was born and lived in Cumbria (used to be ‘Cumberland’ and bang next door to Lancashire)
The only good thing to come out of Lancashire is the M6 Motorway

I have changed my mind, a little, to include Pendolino trains on the West Coast Mainline and Eccles Cakes

Even the mighty haha Wiki gets it wrong. (Tell me you’re shocked)
They are = ‘Dead Fly Pies
Isn’t ‘Insect Eating’ now the Soup-du-Jour’
Thus, eat Eccles Cakes and Save The World!
So there is a modicum of hope for Lancashire, the glimmer of a GSOH

So much junk in there, my chosen points:
1) The lakes are warming up because the rivers and stream feeding them have warmed up. Tillage and deforestation i.e. Albedo reduction of the (farm) land

2) Solar panels get extremely hot under a bright sun, way way too hot to touch.
That heat conducts into the air where it will be recorded by thermometers – which will attribute it to Global Warming. It will not have the effect claimed

3) Someone ought to whisper in the guy’s ear the two little words “Loss Leader”
The Chinese are flogging panels dirt cheap and watching with what can only be incredulous joy, as Western Societies switch off their power stations and then, raze them to the ground
When sufficient damage has been done, just watch the price of solar panels skyrocket.

Exactly as the price of Chinese sourced Neodymium did (is there any other sort) when western windmill makers said they were going to use it in the next generation of turbines. The retail price for Neodymium went up by a factor of 20 (twenty)

What would happen to electricity prices when most of the Fossil Fuel Plants are decommissioned & destroyed and solar panels experience the same ‘effect’?

The turkeys really are Voting for Christmas, these people are criminally negligent and insane.

No matter, Boris Princess Nut Nuts has it all under control
Huge solar farm
Never mind that the UK produces less than half the food it consumes.

The turkeys, as hang-out around The Grauniad, have been convinced of ‘Excess UK Farmland’ for some little while now…
Quote: “Up to 17% of cropland and 30% of grassland could be converted, the report says”

Also here,
Quote:”Following the blah blah, the Independent Panel on Forestry recommended that the government should commit to increase woodland cover in England from 10% to 15% by 2060″

Wonder if Nut Nuts and Boris will change their tune now most of the French wine crop has gone down the pan? What will they use to hold their happy little family together then…

And in the 4th link there, he actually slags off Single Mothers – and then goes on to create one, while = Prime Minister.
How dumb is it possible to be?

Maybe ‘The Johnsons’ have a Wine Printing Machine, similar to the one that prints money. Also UK farmland.
Think we’d all like a bit of that action…

(Am I actually The Crazy One, wtf is going on here)

griff
April 15, 2021 1:08 am

Here’s a real life example

Thames Water installs Europe’s largest floating solar panel project (waterbriefing.org)

This is a drinking water reservoir, built in concrete,off limits to the general public and not full of wildlife

The design of the reservoir has an effect on the fish population that can live in the reservoir, the concrete shores means that only European perch and ruffe can breed, except for where there are empty fish cages constructed with netting, which support some plant growth and this allows small numbers of cyprinid fish to breed. The low numbers of fish in the reservoir have led to the zooplankton being dominated by large sized cladocerans and Daphnia and to high growth rates in the few fish that live there.’

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 3:59 am

So you are good with poisoning public drinking water with the toxic materials contained in solar panels. Again you show yourself to be an idiot.

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
April 16, 2021 4:00 am

Oh, and migrating waterfowl don’t care about a fence and signs, they land on it anyway.

Loren C. Wilson
April 15, 2021 4:21 am

Solar obviously isn’t cheaper or more people would be buying it. There’s plenty of space in most countries as well. So the proposal starts out with two incorrect statements. Now let’s look at the idea. Most countries either don’t have an issue with lakes warming or they don’t have enough surface water in the first place. Most issues with lakes involve polluted water because they don’t treat sewage, or the country uses too much water from the streams feeding the lake. Then there are storms, which you can design for on land. Add a large swell to your floating design. The costs increase. After all, those PV panels are pretty expensive, can’t let them flex too much or they break. Water is the number one cause of PV panel breakdown. At least there will be plenty of water to wash down the panels so they retain their performance.

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 15, 2021 5:07 am

Floating solar may mimic or amplify the effects of climate change.

Good grief, you couldn’t make it up.

Coach Springer
April 15, 2021 5:21 am

So, you’re saying The Big Lie is a real thing?

ozspeaksup
April 15, 2021 5:22 am

the conversation…it’d figure!
so the solar cells gain cooling but theyd be reflecting heat as well..
and a flood might be a problem?
wonder how theyd go with duckcrap etc when the birds get brave enough to land on em?

David Hoopman
April 15, 2021 6:41 am

More confirmation that the world is being taken over by permanent ten year-olds so enchanted with their play-toy science fair projects they can’t grasp the inescapable waste and damage they cause.

George Ellis
April 15, 2021 6:41 am

Oh, what a wonderful idea! Let’s cover the Everglades with solar panels too! That will kill all of the invasive species too while preventing warming!
/sarc

Dan Tige
April 15, 2021 6:59 am

LOL! I can just see that working in northern lakes when they freeze over and start cracking the panels. Also great in the spring when the ice breaks up and the wind pushes it around. Also great for people living around those lakes who want to use them for recreation and fishing. Also great for birds and wildlife around those lakes.

Dumb idea of the century.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Dan Tige
April 15, 2021 7:53 am

Power out in the winter would likely be nearly zero.

very old white guy
April 15, 2021 7:13 am

I wonder how many more years we have before our insane ideas actually destroy the planet and kill us all?

Olen
April 15, 2021 8:24 am

Finally an answer as to why there are no fish in my pond.

TonyG
April 15, 2021 9:56 am

I see two problems here. First: “This is thanks to the cooling effect of the water beneath the panels” – that would suggest WARMING of the water, since a “cooling effect” is due to a transfer of heat from the warmer object (panels) to the cooler object (water).

But, accepting for sake of discussion that is more than offset by the cooling of the water due to less sunlight, this seems pretty classic first-order thinking. Yes, we cool the lakes. What are the impacts of doing so?

Paul Penrose
April 15, 2021 10:13 am

I wouldn’t try this in places where the lakes freeze over in the winter. Of course, locations at latitudes high enough for that to happen are stupid places to put solar farms anyway.

Dwayne
April 15, 2021 12:41 pm

The authors must be congratulated on their miraculous modeling as at one stroke they have demolished the requirement for subsidies and have improved the efficiency of photovoltaic cells so as to actually cool the surrounding environment while using bodies of water as heat sinks. I am truly astounded. One difficulty I have with the cost benefit analysis is that, especially in the higher latitudes of the globe, to receive sunlight perpendicular to the cells you must find lakes located on the sides of mountains at the proper orientation to the sun. It is my experience that these lakes are rare and are extensively used for downhill water skiing. This minor quibble aside, I am in awe!

John in Oz
April 15, 2021 9:43 pm

enough electricity to power 44 billion LED light bulbs for a year.

…but only during the day when they are not needed

ironargonaut
April 15, 2021 10:26 pm

“This is thanks to the cooling effect of the water beneath the panels,” The stupid it burns! You can’t have a “cooling effect” unless you are transferring energy from the panels to the water! In other words the panels themselves “heat” the water! They don’t model this.

TonyG
Reply to  ironargonaut
April 16, 2021 6:55 am

It cools the water by warming the water! Just like global warming causes ice ages!

Sunface jack
April 16, 2021 12:46 am

I would suggest the claim of a gain due to cooling effect will be offset by the wave action and wind effect on the ability to keep tracking the sun. Oh!, we can simply add a tracing array system…bla bla

Patrick MJD
April 16, 2021 1:32 am

What lakes are threatened by climate change?

michael hart
April 16, 2021 9:56 am

I can just picture Windermere, one of the most iconic beauty spots in the English Lake District, covered in floating solar panels.

This is Wordsworth country, where he “wandered, lonely as a cloud”
“Ten thousand saw I at a glance,…”

…but he was writing poetry about nodding daffodils, not solar panels or wind turbines. He would surely be weeping today.

Jon
April 16, 2021 7:51 pm

Floating solar farms will also provide places for sessile water creatures to grow, and small water creatures to hide, making water creatures more abundant. That’s what I care about. And these farms will provide a little electricity as an added benefit.

Last edited 5 months ago by Jon
2hotel9
Reply to  Jon
April 17, 2021 5:49 am

Keep telling yourself that, you may convince you some day.

Brandon
April 18, 2021 9:55 pm

So long, and thanks for all the FISH!

Lit
April 18, 2021 11:41 pm

I did not see a mention of the effect on the lake from blocking sunshine. It will have large consequences for life in the lake.

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