Chile Tests Floating Solar Farm

10 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

Marina - you seem to like to link these articles. They are interesting I suppose but I was a finance/business journalist for more than 30 years, so I tend not to pay much attention and can't help finding fault when I do. Those guys propose to cover their tailings pond with floating solar panels in the hope that the panels will reduce evaporation as well as generate PV power. As tailings dams tend to have chemicals in them (for treating the ores) I would have thought that preventing corrosion in the panels would be a problem, not to mention ensuring that they would float. I would have thought that keeping them on dry land and throwing the equivalent of dark bubble wrap over the pond/dam would be far easier. Maybe someone is over-thinking the problem and/or wanted something that sounds good for the a grants application. Lots of UN/Government bodies out there willing to give out money for ideas that are daft, but still sound good. 

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I do prefer to link articles on topics I find interesting rather than try to retell them. I am not sure, however, why you seem to have the idea I agree with every word of every article I post. I do not. I simply find them worth discussing.

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6 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

I do prefer to link articles on topics I find interesting rather than try to retell them. I am not sure, however, why you seem to have the idea I agree with every word of every article I post. I do not. I simply find them worth discussing.

thanks, Marina.  Keep up the link sharing.  I always read the links you post. 

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Thanks! 

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18 hours ago, markslawson said:

Marina - you seem to like to link these articles. They are interesting I suppose but I was a finance/business journalist for more than 30 years, so I tend not to pay much attention and can't help finding fault when I do. Those guys propose to cover their tailings pond with floating solar panels in the hope that the panels will reduce evaporation as well as generate PV power. As tailings dams tend to have chemicals in them (for treating the ores) I would have thought that preventing corrosion in the panels would be a problem, not to mention ensuring that they would float. I would have thought that keeping them on dry land and throwing the equivalent of dark bubble wrap over the pond/dam would be far easier. Maybe someone is over-thinking the problem and/or wanted something that sounds good for the a grants application. Lots of UN/Government bodies out there willing to give out money for ideas that are daft, but still sound good. 

You are overlooking some of the other benefits.

The cost of power at mine sites is often very high if the site is remote and they have to ship in diesel so the return on solar  and or wind is a lot better than in your typical urban environment. 

Ex. I remember in Newman WA we were paying 23 cents a unit and that was for a large commercial operation in 2012. 

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5 hours ago, NickW said:

You are overlooking some of the other benefits.

NickW - I'm quite well aware of the benefits and it is one of the applications where solar power might be of some use. The point I was making was I didn't see the need to float the panels on water. Why bother? Chuck something else on the water if you want to shade it, and keep the PV panels on dry land - much easier and probably more economical all round. As I noted before the suggestion to float the PV panels is probably a way to boost the grant application. Another way to get easy grant money out of solar-mad gringos.  The project may well stack up on its own merits, as you say, but they'd always be looking for grant money. 

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Just now, markslawson said:

NickW - I'm quite well aware of the benefits and it is one of the applications where solar power might be of some use. The point I was making was I didn't see the need to float the panels on water. Why bother? Chuck something else on the water if you want to shade it, and keep the PV panels on dry land - much easier and probably more economical all round. As I noted before the suggestion to float the PV panels is probably a way to boost the grant application. Another way to get easy grant money out of solar-mad gringos.  The project may well stack up on its own merits, as you say, but they'd always be looking for grant money. 

Is their any suggestion of grant money?

Floating on the water provides a number of benefits 

  • The cooling effect  of the water increases the output of the panels
  • Its very easy and cheap to orientate the panels to the direction of sunlight. This significantly increases output throughout the day for the cost of some simple control software and a cheapo electric outboard
  • The panels are less easy to steal
  • The panels are less likely to get damaged
  • In the case quoted an 80% reduction in evaporation. That's a major benefit when operating in an arid environment at altitude - possibly having to pipe water in from long distances. Ok you could do this with something else but its an added benefit of the panels. 
  • It also helps reduce the growth of algae in water which can be a right bitch in blocking up pipework and pumps. 
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20 minutes ago, markslawson said:

NickW - I'm quite well aware of the benefits and it is one of the applications where solar power might be of some use. The point I was making was I didn't see the need to float the panels on water. Why bother? Chuck something else on the water if you want to shade it, and keep the PV panels on dry land - much easier and probably more economical all round. As I noted before the suggestion to float the PV panels is probably a way to boost the grant application. Another way to get easy grant money out of solar-mad gringos.  The project may well stack up on its own merits, as you say, but they'd always be looking for grant money. 

A high altitude site like that at 30-35 degrees latitude is going to deliver 1800-2000 kwh per KW of panel plus 25-30% if you place the panels on water and have them track the direction of the sun. 

Question is how much is Anglo American having to pay to haul diesel  from San Antonio 3500 metres below at sea level? Whats the cost of each KWH once conversion efficiencies are factored in? 

Forget your grant money fantasy. I bet this is pure $$$ decision for Anglo American with a bit of added 'Eco action' for the shareholders CSR report

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This floating solar array is 1200 square feet. Doing some simple math you discover that is 12 feet by 100 feet. So about 2-3 roof tops worth of solar panels. What are they going to power with them, the air conditioners in the lunch trailer? 

 

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17 minutes ago, Keith boyd said:

This floating solar array is 1200 square feet. Doing some simple math you discover that is 12 feet by 100 feet. So about 2-3 roof tops worth of solar panels. What are they going to power with them, the air conditioners in the lunch trailer? 

 

If you read the article its a trial.

The findings from which will inform Anglo American whether this is worth scaling up.

That's 110m2 of panels which will have a capacity of about 16.5KW that will generate about 33000 kwh (more if they put orientation controls on it.

 

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3 minutes ago, NickW said:

If you read the article its a trial.

The findings from which will inform Anglo American whether this is worth scaling up.

That's 110m2 of panels which will have a capacity of about 16.5KW that will generate about 33000 kwh (more if they put orientation controls on it.

 

My point was, even if they scale it up 1000 times it would still be a fraction of the power needed to run a mine. I work in the oil sands and the electric shovel cables are the diameter of your neck. That's one shovel. And they run at night too. I thought about how this site could incorporate intermittent renewables and I am coming up blank. Base plant has it's own power plant, it burns coke to produce steam. The steam powers the power plant. Steam.is also used to separate bitumen from sand. Steam is used everywhere in the winter to heat pipelines and valves. Steam is the power house of this place. The amount of electricity used to power buildings and lighting etc is negligable. The coke used to power everything is a waste product. They bury a lot of it in mines out pits because it's nearly worthless. Electricity is basically free to them. I will concede to one point. THe power house is geezus filthy you have to wear a respirator just to go inside the building. Coke powered electricity is filthy. The particulate emissions are captured in a bag house so dont think there is black soot belching out the stacks. There isn't. Without the bag house well yes it would.  The white emissions are steam and co2.  They have a natural gas backup plant. They avoid using it as much as possible because it's very expensive relatively to burning free coke. Long story short I dont see wind or solar being used anywhere here. Especially solar but this is northern canada so solar is a complete joke here. Most things are diesel because its reliable. And when its minus 50 things need to work all the time and never shut off. 

 

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(edited)

26 minutes ago, Keith boyd said:

My point was, even if they scale it up 1000 times it would still be a fraction of the power needed to run a mine. I work in the oil sands and the electric shovel cables are the diameter of your neck. That's one shovel. And they run at night too. I thought about how this site could incorporate intermittent renewables and I am coming up blank. Base plant has it's own power plant, it burns coke to produce steam. The steam powers the power plant. Steam.is also used to separate bitumen from sand. Steam is used everywhere in the winter to heat pipelines and valves. Steam is the power house of this place. The amount of electricity used to power buildings and lighting etc is negligable. The coke used to power everything is a waste product. They bury a lot of it in mines out pits because it's nearly worthless. Electricity is basically free to them. I will concede to one point. THe power house is geezus filthy you have to wear a respirator just to go inside the building. Coke powered electricity is filthy. The particulate emissions are captured in a bag house so dont think there is black soot belching out the stacks. There isn't. Without the bag house well yes it would.  The white emissions are steam and co2.  They have a natural gas backup plant. They avoid using it as much as possible because it's very expensive relatively to burning free coke. Long story short I dont see wind or solar being used anywhere here. Especially solar but this is northern canada so solar is a complete joke here. Most things are diesel because its reliable. And when its minus 50 things need to work all the time and never shut off. 

 

No one is making a claim that it would completely replace fossil fuels.

Scale  up this example a thousand times you have 33 million kwh.

How much does it cost to haul the diesel up to an altitude of 3500 metres to generate 33 million kwh?

 

In Northern Canada if you are going to use renewables wind is the obvious choice. For that site in Chile at 3500m metres altitude & 33 degrees S solar is perfect.

Edited by NickW

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22 hours ago, NickW said:

Forget your grant money fantasy. I bet this is pure $$$ decision for Anglo American with a bit of added 'Eco action' for the shareholders CSR report

You simply repeated the original story with its problems. So I repeat the concept of making the solar panels float is a pointless florish. Better to chuck a cheap shade cover on the pond and keep the panels on dry land where it will be easier for them to follow the sun. As I agreed in the earlier posts the project may well stand up on its own merits, but there are ALWAYS grant applications. Doesn't matter how big the company is, if they can get grant money they will and grants are handed out to individual projects. Anyway, leave it with you.. 

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15 minutes ago, markslawson said:

You simply repeated the original story with its problems. So I repeat the concept of making the solar panels float is a pointless florish. Better to chuck a cheap shade cover on the pond and keep the panels on dry land where it will be easier for them to follow the sun. As I agreed in the earlier posts the project may well stand up on its own merits, but there are ALWAYS grant applications. Doesn't matter how big the company is, if they can get grant money they will and grants are handed out to individual projects. Anyway, leave it with you.. 

I will keep it simple for you.

Floating on water cools the panels which significantly increases output 

Floating on water makes it very cheap and easy for the panels to track the sun increasing output  and lengthen output throughout the day

Floating on water reduces the risk of someone driving over them (high % of complete 4rseholes work on mine sites) 

Floating on water reduces the risk of theft and vandalism (as per 4rsehole comment) 

 

In you text I have highlighted a section - can you explain how because land based trackers are bulky and quite expensive. On water you can do it with about $250 of controls and one of these for 100KW of panels.  

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bison-Kayak-Canoe-Electric-Outboard/dp/B004KKRQ9Y/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1553296087&sr=8-7&keywords=electric+outboard+motor

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