Solar panel farms tie up large tracts of land. In small countries that can be a problem. French company Ciel et Terre has a solution: float solar arrays on reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals or remediation ponds. The installation can make these waterways serve a double purpose, while at the same time reducing evaporation.
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The United Kingdom is getting its first floating solar farm near Berkshire. Eight hundred photovoltaic panels are being installed on a reservoir at Sheeplands Farm near Wargrave.
The project, which has a capacity of of 200W, will cost the farmer who owns that land, Mark Bennett, about $405,000. But he’ll make that up in about six years, since he’ll earn $32,000 a year for the power generated and will also save nearly $40,000 every year on the electricity he would normally have to buy to power his farm.
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Similar installations have gone up in France and India, and the world’s largest project — with a 1.7MW output — will eventually be installed in Japan.
With a life expectancy of 30 years, the rewards speak for themselves.