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Floating solar power could help fight climate change

Solar panels need to be deployed over vast areas worldwide to decarbonize electricity. By 2050, the United States might need up to 61,000 square kilometres of solar panels — an area larger than the Netherlands. Land-scarce nations such as Japan and South Korea might have to devote 5% of their land to solar farms. The question of where to put these panels isn’t trivial. There is fierce competition for land that is also needed for food production and biodiversity conservation. One emerging solution is to deploy floating solar panels (‘floatovoltaics’) on reservoirs. Deserts have ample sunshine and don’t have much competition for land use. Agricultural fields are another promising possibility, but researchers are only starting to understand how pairing solar panels with crops in ‘agrivoltaic’ systems will affect food production. But placing solar arrays on reservoirs could have many more advantages. Countries in the Americas and Africa could benefit most: even low coverage of reservoirs by floatovoltaics should generate all the solar energy needed to decarbonize their electricity sector. Brazil and Canada could be hotspots, each requiring only about 5% coverage of their plentiful reservoirs to satisfy their massive solar-energy needs. Last year, Brazil implemented regulatory changes to help the industry to develop. Click to read more about this interesting trend.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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