World’s biggest floating solar farm powers up outside London

Innovation, Renewable, Solar

Five years in planning and finished in early March 2016, more than 23,000 solar panels will be floated on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow and used to generate power for local water treatment plants.

Why put solar panels on water? The answer, according to Berry, is that the water is there, and might as well be used for this purpose. Floating panels, covering only about 6% of the reservoir, will have no impact on the ecosystem, he says.

Though waterbirds, including moorhens and gulls, live on the margins, and a thin scum of litter is visible at the shore, the reservoir is not intended as a home to wildlife, and any fish living here are accidental visitors. Eighteen metres deep, it provides water for Londoners in a constantly churning stream. Although most of the population growth in London tends to be towards the east, most of the water still comes from reservoirs to the west of the city.

‘These solar pontoons are popping up on reservoirs near you. Have a look. They are pretty amazing.’ Nuable