Tuesday September 23rd 2014
Berkshire project owners to target water utilities with scheme to cut energy bills.
A farm in Berkshire has become the first in the UK to install a floating solar array, with the owners now targeting water utilities and reservoirs for further development.
Sheeplands Farm near Wargrave switched on the 200kw solar array last month, which is located on a reservoir and is expected to slash the businesses’ carbon emissions and energy bills. The scheme is expected to secure a return on the £250,000 investment within six years.
Advocates of floating solar farms argue they can address concerns that solar farms could use up valuable agricultural land while also delivering higher levels of conversion efficiency than standard solar farms, thanks to the cooling effect of the water.
Owner Mark Bennett told the Telegraph that he was now hoping to roll the technology out to water companies and reservoirs. “We are speaking to big utility companies, to agricultural companies – anyone with an unused body of water. The potential is remarkable,” he said.
Bennett is working with French technology developer Ciel & Terre in a bid to bring more of the innovative arrays to the UK.
Japan is already pushing ahead with ambitious plans for the world’s largest floating solar farm. Earlier this month, Kyocera confirmed it was teaming up with Century Tokyo Leasing Corp to install two separate floating arrays, one boasting 1.7MW capacity and one providing 1.2MW.