Analysis of Floating Offshore Solar Power Plants

by Jincy Varughese

In Europe, large flat spaces of land with direct normal irradiance (DNI) levels high enough to support solar utilities are uncommon. Diendorfer et. al (2014), a team of researchers in Vienna, saw untapped potential in the Mediterranean Sea and began researching the feasibility of offshore solar power plants. Aside from the availability of open spaces, building solar power plants offshore has two main advantages. First, a system that revolves on a vertical axis can be easily implemented and is efficient at sun-tracking. Second, unlimited water is readily available for the cooling processes required at solar thermal power plants. In this paper, the use of both Parabolic Trough Collectors (PTC) and Pneumatic Pre-Stressed Solar Concentrators (PPC) are considered. The study evaluates the performance of a preliminary floating solar power plant using a model that accounts for platform motion, sea state, and solar irradiance. Continue reading