More Efficient Photovoltaic Plants with Smaller Environmental Impact


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Solar cells can provide energy from a renewable source. Photo by Livingoffgrids

Has science devised a better solar-power plant?

Established in December of 2011, the Floating Tracking Cooling Concentrator (FTCC) is a new Photovoltaic (PV) plant system. In this system, the PV panels are placed on floating supports in water reservoirs. The FTCC makes the plant more efficient, and results in a smaller impact on the environment.

Solar Cell – Photovoltaic (PV) Panels

Photovoltaics (PVs), also referred to as solar cells, are employed to convert sunlight into electricity. There is growing interest in these systems, as they produce energy from a renewable source. At the moment, however, there are still limits to the use of PVs.

One issue is the low efficiency of energy conversion (about 30% for a single material solar cell); the cost for the production of solar cells is another problem,

In recent years, however, remarkable progress was made in this field, as PV cells were produced using different materials and with different processes; all this caused an increase in the efficiency of the cells and, at the same time, a decrease in the production price.

PV Plants on a Larger Scale

Because of the latest developments, more and more large PV plants have been built; these plants, still present some problems, as reported below.

  • To build large PV plants, big open fields are necessary. The plants growing in the fields could have a high impact on the environment.
  • If operating for many hours, the PV panel can overheat; this thermal drift reduces the efficiency of the system.
  • The panels need support, normally referred to as tracking. The tracking systems can be quite expensive.

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