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Thursday, September 29, 2022

See this floating solar farm in Thailand, made possible by drones

There’s a floating photo voltaic farm in Thailand, and it’s largely made attainable by drones.

The photo voltaic farm is situated on the Sirindhorn dam basin in southeastern Thailand, close to the border of Laos, the place it impounds the Lam Dom Noi River and serves as the most important water useful resource for the area.

And in 2021, the Thai authorities kicked off what could possibly be a quest to be the dam space a large vitality useful resource for the area too. That’s as a result of Thailand spent $34 million to put in floating photo voltaic panels over the water.

Thailand floating solar farm
Photograph courtesy of EGAT.

Whereas the reservoir and dam have lengthy powered the Sirindhorn Hydropower Plant — which has an put in capability of three models of 12,000 kilowatts every and annual vitality manufacturing of 90 GWh — the floating photo voltaic panels elevated the ability to 45 MW.

All that energy although requires a large photo voltaic farm — and this one is 250 acres, making it one of many largest floating photo voltaic farms on the earth. The floating photo voltaic farm consists of seven sections floating on buoys that collectively are the scale of about 70 soccer fields. And because the panels are situated 350 meters from the closest shoreline, inspecting all that space that removed from the shore is just not precisely the simplest activity.

Percepto Thailand floating solar farm
Photograph courtesy of EGAT

And that’s the place drones are available.

The Electrical Producing Authority of Thailand (EGAT) simply accomplished a largely profitable proof-of-concept venture in partnership with Thai drone consultancy and gear supplier High Engineering Company in addition to autonomous inspection firm Percepto that makes use of drones to observe the floating photo voltaic farm. the drones conduct autonomous, routine inspections of panels and different gear. In the event that they detect anomalies, people might be alerted to restore them — in principle discovering issues early on earlier than they flip into larger points.   Drones will take a look at every thing from the substations to the transformers, to floating fences and photo voltaic floaters (these are what maintain the panel above water).

Photograph courtesy of Percepto.

In distinction, doing gear inspection and upkeep sans drones is cumbersome. In any other case, inspection workers would want to entry the panel by boat to manually overview the panels. In situations of extreme climate, going out through boat may not be attainable in any respect.

Past flying for inspection functions to supply common operations and upkeep reviews, the drones may also have the ability to map the situation of the panels.

Talking of extreme climate, the drones can deal with Thailand’s prickly, tropical local weather (the southern components of Thailand particularly get excessive quantities of rain). On the finish of 2021, Percepto’s drone system handed rigorous Degree 5 hurricane testing at wind speeds of as much as 155 mph.

Photograph courtesy of Percepto.

Thailand has largely been a pacesetter in environmental points. The $34 million floating photo voltaic farm venture is only one piece of the nation’s push to attain carbon impartial standing by 2050. And right here’s a enjoyable reality: floating photo voltaic panels is perhaps higher than these one the land. Putting photo voltaic panels on the water floor helps scale back the panels’ warmth, which EGAT claims makes the 10-15 p.c extra environment friendly than photo voltaic panels put in on land. Moreover, it reduces water evaporation within the dam round 460,000 m3/yr.

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