In-Situ Water Quality Observations under a Large-Scale Floating Solar Farm Using Sensors and Underwater Drones

Floris Boogaard, Katerina Paxinou, Olof Akkerman, Rui de Lima, Fen-Yu Lin

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Abstract

The rapid implementation of large scale floating solar panels has consequences to water quality and local ecosystems. Environmental impacts depend on the dimensions, design and proportions of the system in relation to the size of the surface water, as well as the characteristics of the water system (currents, tidal effects) and climatic conditions. There is often no time (and budget) for thorough research into these effects on ecology and water quality. A few studies have addressed the potential impacts of floating solar panels, but often rely on models without validation with in situ data. In this work, water quality sensors continuously monitored key water quality parameters at two different locations: (i) underneath a floating solar park; (ii) at a reference location positioned in open water. An underwater drone was used to obtain vertical profiles of water quality and to collect underwater images. The results showed little differences in the measured key water quality parameters below the solar panels. The temperature at the upper layers of water was lower under the solar panels, and there were less detected temperature fluctuations. A biofouling layer on the floating structure was visible in the underwater images a few months after the construction of the park
Original languageEnglish
Article number6421
Number of pages18
JournalSustainability
Volume2021
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • watermanagement
  • drijvende zonnepanelen
  • klimaatadaptatie
  • onderwaterdrones

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