Italian engineers are catching the world’s attention with a brand-new solar development that offers potentially significant implications: a prototype for floating solar panels that’s both cost-effective and efficient, as it will save property owners from taking up valuable land with their panels and use wasted resevoirs and detention ponds.
“Reactions from abroad have been very positive,” said inventor Marco Rosa-Clot, engineer and Florence University professor. ”Some Koreans came to Pisa to see us and we signed a three-year contract giving them a license to build this sort of installation in South Korea.”
The solar invention created by Rosa-Clot and his team, dubbed the Floating Tracking Cooling Concentrator (FTCC) system, is made up of flower-petal-like panels that float on water, designed to pull the sun’s energy at various times of day and kept at low temperatures through water. The 30-kilowatt prototype, which is a small-scale model, could sufficiently power around 12 homes.
“You can find other systems designed to ‘track the sun,’” said journalist TJ McCue at Forbes. “However few of them offer the special advantage that the FTCC does: it is water-cooled. The heat buildup in many solar installations can be problematic, but professor Rosa-Clot’s approach solves this with elegance: Put the system on water.”
Floating solar panels have also caught the attention of French developers, who plan to bring a new floating solar panel project to market by June, based on a collaboration of Solaris Synergy and EDF Group.