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Impacts of a floating photovoltaic system on temperature and water quality in a shallow tropical reservoir

journal contribution
posted on 29.09.2022, 03:27 authored by P Yang, Lloyd ChuaLloyd Chua, K N Irvine, M T Nguyen, E W Low
A three-dimensional hydrodynamic-ecological lake model combined with field measurements and sampling was applied to investigate the impacts of floating photovoltaic (PV) systems on hydrodynamics and water quality in a shallow tropical reservoir in Singapore. The model was validated using field data and subsequently applied to predict temperature and water quality changes for a hypothetical 42 ha placement of floating photovoltaic panels, covering about 30% of the water surface and capable of generating up to 50 MW of energy. The impact of the panel placement was studied numerically. The area of the reservoir where panels are placed experiences both light limiting and reduced wind stress conditions. The model indicated an average water temperature increase of 0.3 °C beneath the panels, consistent with the field observation from a 1 ha demonstration installation. Comparisons of model results between the uncovered and covered areas reveal greater stability of the water column (increase in Richardson number from 2.3 to 3.3) and reduction in mixing energy (from 9 × 10–7 to 7 × 10–7 W/kg) under the PV panels. Furthermore, the model predicted that chlorophyll a, total organic carbon and dissolved oxygen concentrations would decline by up to 30%, 15% and 50%, respectively, under the photovoltaic panels. Total nitrogen and total phosphorus, averaged over the water column, increased by 10% and 30%, respectively, under the panels. Distant from the floating solar panels, temperature, stability and water quality were unaffected.