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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

When it comes to solar where you build your solar farm really makes a difference …

 

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So far over 1 Trillion Watts of renewables have been installed around the world and as the race to install more accelerates researchers around the world are trying to find new places to install it all. So far we’ve seen solar power installations spring up in deserts, fields, and lakes, and even in space. But now a team from Romande Energie, have built a floating solar farm on a reservoir in the middle of the mountainous Swiss Alps range, a report from Euronews explains.

 

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The project recently won the Swiss Watt d’Or prize, for the best in renewable energy innovation 2020. The solar farm is located at an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level on the Lac des Toules reservoir in Valais, Switzerland, which already serves as a hydropower station.

The solar farm is built up of 36 floating barges and more than 2,000 square meters of solar panels.

The benefit of having solar panels at such a high altitude is that solar radiation is stronger. In the mountainous region, the winter months surround the reservoir with snow, which also serves to reflect sunlight towards the panels.

 

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Romande Energie said solar panels harvest up to 50 percent more energy than solar farms at lower altitudes. Guillaume Fuchs, the project’s leader, told Euronews that the pilot project produces approximately 800-megawatt hour production per year — roughly the need of 225 households.

The project is undergoing a two-year trial period, during which researchers will analyze the system to see whether it is viable at a larger scale, and whether it can be duplicated on other reservoirs worldwide. The trial is the culmination of a €2.2 million project and six years of research and development.

Romande Energie’s solar farm project is one of many innovative initiatives that aim to transform the way renewable energy solutions are implemented on a global scale.

 

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Scientists in California recently stated that suspending solar panels above canals would reduce the need for land devoted solely to solar farms. At the same time, such a project would prevent water loss from evaporation and would also keep the solar cells cool, making them more efficient.

Last month, researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology published a study detailing work on cement-based batteries that could essentially transform entire buildings into massive renewable energy storage systems.

Other initiatives that aim to make renewable energy technology inconspicuous within urban spaces include the AuREUS solar panels, which have the potential to convert the windows of large office blocks into constant energy generators. A startup, Halcium, also recently announced small portable wind turbines for city spaces that look like dustbins.

 

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Not only do these types of projects allow for more efficient use of the world’s land resources, they are also less likely to be opposed by local communities as they fit seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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