About 80 percent of energy consumption worldwide comes from fossil sources, which is the source of health issues and environmental issues. The Swedish company Sunsurf Solar has created a solution that is more efficient than traditional solar parks and can help save water.
The idea to build solar modules on water first emerged in 2020, but this year the company from Gothenburg has gained a lot of attention. Earlier this year, the first module was delivered and in October, Sunsurf Solar took in 2 million SEK (€172 000) to continue the scale-up of its floating solar panels.
Higher efficiency and less land use
When solar panels become too hot, the system efficiency quickly plummets. By placing solar panels above water, the team behind Sunsurf Solar, consisting of three childhood friends with a background in engineering and environmental law, believe they have created an efficient solution to both generate energy and at the same time save water.
Since the panels are based above water, they are cooled naturally, increasing the efficiency of the panels, and saving water by reducing evaporation. In addition, Sunsurf Solar’s new type of floating module is equipped with “bifacial” panels, which can also harness the reflecting sunlight from the water. Thanks to this, the Sunsurf Solar solution is expected to generate up to 15 per cent more energy than traditional solar parks.
What’s more, the Sunsurf Solar modules do not take up valuable land, as they are placed on irrigation ponds that already exist on many farms around the world, as well as on other types of water surfaces. The number of irrigation ponds is expected to increase in the coming decades, due to climate change and food security problems. The solution can save money for farmers, and at the same time contribute to clean energy production. The agricultural sector is one of the biggest emitters globally and the industry is looking for solutions which can help the transition to a renewable energy system. The floating solar panels can be placed in irrigation ponds, reservoirs, dams, and streams up to six meters deep, making it a suitable solution for waters that fluctuate in height and width.
The company is now focusing on establishing in Sweden, to then go internationally with the solution. Sunsurf Solar’s first floating solar installation was up and running in December 2023, developed to endure the Nordic winter climate. The company is also looking at different prospects with possible assembly start in the first quarter of 2024.
– Sweden has lots of artificial water that could be used for double purposes. With Sunsurf Solar’s solution, farmers and water-intensive industries can produce a lot of energy, save water and sustain high food production, simultaneously, says Marc Montgomery, CEO of Sunsurf Solar.