London, United Kingdom: According a news report in theguardian dated February 29, on a vast manmade lake on the outskirts of London, work is nearing completion on what is touted to be Europe’s largest floating solar power farm, and the world’s biggest for the next couple of years.
Five years in the making, the GBP 6 million project, said the news report, will generate enough electricity to power the utility’s local water treatment plants for decades, as also 1,800 homes every year, and will help provide clean drinking water to nearly 10 million people in greater London and the south-east of England.
A set of 23,000 floating solar panels have been laid on the water at the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir at Walton-on-Thames, by developer Lightsource Renewable Energy, said the report, and added that the panels are not visible, except to Heathrow passengers and a few flats in neighbouring estates.
About the rationale behind placing solar panels on water, Angus Berry, Energy Manager for Thames Water, which owns the site, has reportedly said that floating panels, covering only about six per cent of the reservoir, will have no impact on the ecosystem, and though water birds live on the margins, the reservoir is not intended as a home to wildlife and fish.
Putting solar panels on the water, for what is known as the QEII scheme, said the report, has not required planning permission, though, on land, it would require official sanction, which appears to be an added advantage.
According to the news report, an even bigger farm – at 13.7 MW, more than twice the QEII farm – is being built on a reservoir in Japan, due for completion in 2018. Until then, QEII farm will reportedly be the biggest of its kind in the world.