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Pooling Resources

FYI: Green

August 2016

Solar for the house, solar for the business—solar on the open water? London, England, now hosts the world’s largest floating solar power farm on the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, about eight miles from Heathrow Airport.

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Capable of generating enough electricity to power 1,800 homes, Thames Water’s floating power station includes 23,046 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels buoyed by 61,000 floats and 177 anchors—but takes up only 10 percent of the reservoir (about eight Wembley Stadium football pitches).

“Installing a solar PV array over a body of water turns what can often otherwise be a redundant space into an active and economical generator of clean energy, with the added benefit of keeping land free for other operations or activities,” says Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource Renewable Energy, which built and operates the unique solar project. “Close proximity to water also helps to keep the panels and wiring cool, which in turn boosts their efficiency,” he adds.

Could backyard pools be next? “In theory, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be installed on a pond, lake, or even swimming pool to cater to the consumer market,” says Boyle. Learn more at lightsource-re.co.uk.

Photography by Shutterstock