- Solar power is the most favorite green energy since it is a free source of environmentally friendly power that can be used without ceasing.
GOJIGA – IKE Floating Solar System ภาพ : Ciel & Terre
Beside of thermal power, light and warmth, “sunlight” can be used for electricity generation. In power industry, solar power is the most favorite green energy since it is a free source of environmentally friendly power that can be used without ceasing.
Nonetheless, electricity generation from solar power takes up a lot of space for solar panel installation. In case of generating power for 1 megawatt, it requires 13 rais for solar panel installation. Thus, installing solar panels on ground may consume a lot of lands including agricultural and forest areas.
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has researched and developed renewable energy continually. Moreover, EGAT is going to launch the project: “The Biggest Solar Cells on the Buoy in Thailand, in Wong Noi Power Plant’s Reservoir”, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. The project helps reduce waste of land and water evaporation. Consequently, it results in maximum benefits from water resource usage.
Solar power plant on small buoys at Srinagarind Dam
The project’s installed capacity is 2.6 megawatts with consumption of space for 20 rais. It helps reduce quantity of carbon dioxide emissions for 2,143 tons per year. The low deterioration rate solar cells with crystalline silicon (c-Si) are permanently installed on the buoy which requires less space. Expenses relevant to its structure and equipment are reduced subsequently.
The average solar radiation in Thailand is 5 kWh/m2/year (source: Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency). The solar radiation at each province is almost similar when compared to one another, which means that every province will equally gain the same benefits from solar panel installation. However, choosing locations for solar panel installation is more important. Due to solar panels’ technical features, they could function better on lower temperature. Therefore, having solar panels installed on water surface where their temperature is lower than the ground temperature can cause higher capability on power production for 10%.
Regarding environmental issue, the project shall cause none of impact on environment because it is operated in water sources such as reservoirs or dams that are used for reserving rainwater with few living creatures or aquatic animals. There is assumption that solar panel installation on water surface may cause effect on photosynthesis of aquatic plants, which means oxygen production by plants in the water will be decreased. However, having solar panels installed in water sources, where no aquatic animals live in such as power plant’s reservoirs or reservoirs used for water supply production, will only cause positive impacts; for instance, a better quality of water due to decrease of aquatic plants such as algaes and flowering plants that produce poison in water and help reduction of water evaporation.
Even though the water sources are huge dams, the environmental impact will be less. In case of having solar panels installed on the big buoy with capacity of 30 megawatts, the space consumed will be 300 rais or 0.48 square kilometer. Normally, areas of huge dams are larger than 100 square kilometers; for example, the reservoir area of Srinagarind Dam is 419 square kilometers while the reservoir area of Rajjaprabha Dam is 185 square kilometers. Therefore, proportion of space for solar panel installation is less than 1% of the total area of each dam’s reservoir.
EGAT’s research project on 30-kilowatt solar cells installed on the small buoy in the reservoir of Srinagarind Dam has been further developed to become tangible project at Wang Noi Power Plant. EGAT is now preparing to operate a similar project at Krabi Power Plant as well. With preparedness to support electricity generation from renewable power and advance of technology, scales of projects concerning solar cells installed on the big buoy will certainly become greater.