Will “Floatovoltaics” Become the Next Big Thing?

by RP Siegel
Jun 18, 2015 9:00 AM ET
Campaign: CSR Blogs


Energy and water keep showing up together in many articles and conversations. We now have the energy-water nexus, which is a term that highlights the interdependencies of the two. Getting water (from wells or desalination plants), moving it around and purifying it, requires a great deal of energy.

At the same time, you need water to make energy, especially if you use hydropower or any type of thermal plants, which accounts for most of the electricity being produced today. You also need lots of water for fracking. New energy production methods such as tidal power or ocean thermal energy conversion also link the two.

But another combination that has recently caught my attention could become significant. We know that fully two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. We also know that enough sunshine hits the surface of the Earth every hour to provide energy for all of humanity, at today’s conversion rates. So if you put these two things together, it makes sense to put solar collectors out on the water, to make the most of these two things.

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Image credit: Inhabit blog: Flickr Creative Common

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post.