Dutch Engineers To Construct World’s Largest Sun-seeking Floating Solar Islands

Dutch Engineers To Construct World’s Largest Sun-seeking Floating Solar Islands

Dutch engineers are building what will be the world’s largest archipelago of islands made up of sun-tracking solar panels. The 15 floating solar islands will possess sunflower-like ability to turn to face the sun

Floating Solar Islands

Currently, large islands of solar panels are under construction or already in place in reservoirs and lakes across the Netherlands, China, the UK and Japan.

In a development that is to become the largest of its type in the world, construction will begin this year on 15 solar islands on the Andijk reservoir in North Holland. The islands, containing 73,500 panels, will have the sunflower-like ability to move to face the light.

The first phase of the project, involving three islands, each of which will be 140 meters in diameter, is due to be finished by November.

Arnoud van Druten, the managing director of Floating Solar, a solar panel supplier, said: “The sun-tracking system involves three buoys for anchoring with a cable around it, which turns the island and at the same time keeps the island together. It ensures the island is turned towards the sun.

“You can have two options: one is tracking automatically to the light. But because the position of the sun is not expected to change too much in the coming years, an algorithm can be easily programmed.”

Another project at Hoofddorp, near Amsterdam, will involve static solar panels, the water company PWN, expects to create enough energy to power 10,000 households. These solar panel islands can reposition themselves in extreme weather to minimize damage.

“Andijk is a very severe environment,” Van Druten said. “So we have optimal solar tracking, which is generating extra energy, and weather risk management [WRM], which is a technology that makes sure that if an island is under severe pressure due to wind or storms, it moves itself automatically in a position so the wind and waves travel easily through the island. We have already tested that the system can sustain, without WRM, wind speeds of around 60mph.” The added benefit of floating solar panels is that the water will also cool the electrical wiring.

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