Solar islands floated as clean energy source for crowded continents

There are no palm trees to be found on this sunny island, which could generate enough electricity for 30,000 people.

Global consultancy and certification firm DNV has unveiled designs for floating solar arrays that could rival offshore wind farms.

The plans envisage a group of hexagonal artificial islands linked together and supporting 4,200 solar photovoltaic panels across an area the size of a football stadium. Multiple islands connected together could then make up a solar field of 50MW or more, producing enough electricity for 30,000 people.

The concept, dubbed SUNdy, is made possible using 560W thin film solar panels, which are lighter and more flexible than traditional glass-based modules, allowing them to move with the waves on the sea’s surface.

DNV says separating the solar arrays into prefabricated sections allows for large-scale manufacturing and streamlined assembly offshore, while the cable grid provides for maintenance access in the form of floating gangways. Below the surface, the island is then kept in shape by lengthy spread mooring.

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