Floating PV tested at water treatment plant in South Africa


Scientists from the department of electrical engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT), in South Africa, have deployed a pilot floating PV installation at a wastewater treatment plant in Western Cape – the Kraaifontein Wastewater Treatment Works.

The trial project is being developed with the support of the City of Cape Town municipal authority, the Water Research Commission, and South Africa-based specialist Floating Solar (Pty) Ltd, and is aimed at assessing the potential of the floating PV technology for Cape Town's territory. “We will run this experiment for 12 months, while continuing with other projects across Southern Africa,” said Peter Varndell, from Floating Solar.

The one-year timeframe is aimed at evaluating the project performance during a full seasonal weather cycle. “During this period, we will be reporting at contracted intervals,” said UCT researcher Richard Larmour.

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The scientists will also assess the effect of water in reducing PV panel temperatures, and that of the panels themselves in reducing water evaporation.

The floating PV system was built with the Hydrelio floating platforms developed by French specialist Ciel&Terre. “The Kraaifontein floating solar plant produces electricity at pilot scale only and is designed for research purposes,” Larmour added. “Once the performance of this technology has been accurately ascertained, the city will be in a position to include it in strategic planning at scale on larger bodies of water.”

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