Publication: PV on water channels. Avoiding evaporation through power generation

We recently got published the following article on Elsevier’s Solar Energy:

Solar Energy  Water canal use for the implementation and efficiency optimization of photovoltaic facilities: Tajo-Segura transfer scenario

Solar Energy, Volume 126 , March 2016, Pages 168-194 A. Colmenar-Santos, Ángel Buendía, Carlos de Palacio, David Borge-Diez,tRczt1q

(Note: The article can be accessed for free for a short time!)

FI 2014:  3.469

You might want to have a look at the results…

The use of solar photovoltaics on top of a water canal like the Tajo-Segura is quite simbiotic. Not only water evaporation from the canal is saved (226 k€ per year in the case study), the efficiency of the solar panels can also be enhanced by using water for cooling. This increases power generation (342 k€ per year in the case study). The resulting benefits make for a payback of 14 years, with an estimated investment cost of 3 €/W. If the installation can be done for 2, then it is even more interesting, and that can be envisaged. I wonder myself what the price/payback “trigger” for making the decision a no-brainer is…

Besides, it’s also a more efficient use of the space and the canal as an asset. The land use of solar power plants is a relevant matter, as they occupy agricultural land to a far larger extent than wind power (I proposed earlier in this blog another solution). So, using an infrastructure like this canal, with a very long lifetime, associated with a solar plant is an excellent match.

Another question we may ask is if this combination brings further resiliency to the system as a whole. If we think of severe droughts, with extreme heat, this combined system allows to transfer more water. At the same time, the panels are protected from overheating, increasing the PV efficiency further compared to separate systems. Both water and energy supplies become more resilient with the proposed combination, thus it is also a good example of the climate resiliency initiatives we must seek.

I hope we see the project coming to life soon. Don’t you?


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