Development of compliant modular floating photovoltaic farm for coastal conditions
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Floating photovoltaic (PV) farms can be constructed in coastal marine conditions for the abundant ocean space compared to reservoirs. New challenges may arise when extending existing designs of reservoir floating PV farms to coastal regions because of the complex environmental conditions, especially for the pontoon type floating PV systems. This study presents the methodologies for the design and verification of such floating PV farms based on the practical example of one of the world’s largest nearshore floating photovoltaic farms off Woodlands in Singapore. This 5 MW pilot project aims to move floating PV farms from inland water to nearshore regions for future larger-scale deployments. The innovative floating system is adapted from the successful modular floating PV development at Tengeh Reservoir and improved to withstand harsher marine environmental conditions. This study comprehensively introduces various aspects of the development of the nearshore floating modular PV farm, including its design, verification via full-scale experimental testing and numerical studies, construction, and power generation performances. The floating PV system comprises standardized floating modules made of high- density polyethylene (HDPE) that support PV panels or operational and maintenance work. A compliant design allows the floating system to follow wave motion. A verification study was conducted through full-scale experimental tests and numerical simulations based on a representative subsystem of the floating PV farm, focusing on its hydrodynamic performance. Finally, this study presents and discuss the on-site operational energy production performance. This study may serve as a reference for developing large-scale floating PV farms in coastal marine conditions.