Solar pole mount on body of water

Hello this is my first post. I am a solar installer in Sonoma county California and have been pondering the idea on installing a pole mount at my parents house that has a shallow lake. I want to put the array on a passive tracker in the middle on the lake and was wondering if it would incress the out put from the reflection of the water and the cooling effect of evaporating water would also help. Any suggestions or comments would be great! :-D :-D :-D

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    that's interesting you'd want to do that, but yes i see some obvious problems with that. firstly the pole would be extra long for the same diameter in order to go to the lake bottom. i'm not sure if the pole will corrode any faster under the lake water as opposed to being near it. it will also be a bit of a feat for you to secure the thing being it is under water. how about boats or debri hitting it out there? another will be how you intend on sending the power back to dry land as the wires will be thick and heavy and special insulation utilized as water would short it out if it comes into contact with them. it would be far better keeping it on land especially if at any point the sun could reflect off of the water to the pvs without being in the water. if you aren't northwest to northeast of the lake you probably won't get a benefit of reflection then. i feel the little possible gain you'd realize by putting it in the middle of a lake doesn't justify the extra efforts and costs it would incur.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    interesting idea though, if he was positionewd right i bet it might help a bit actually (reflection), and all mounting /waterproofing problems are certainly solvable, however one major concern would be possible added length of the wirerun.

    and also, wouldn't that be a pretty site tio see! (well to me but then i hang out here ;)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,642 admin
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    I would worry about how you maintain the array and tracking system on a lake... From a boat?

    Also, tracking arrays seem to be much more effort to keep running than they are worth. Especially if you have any weather issues (humidity, high winds, etc.)...

    I have read a few people here that swear by them, and I have seen many others swear at them. One of the big solar store/fair/showcase in northern California had 4 or so of those trackers setup--and every one appeared to be out of commission when I was there a year or two ago (a couple with parts hanging loose like somebody gave up).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    I’m also not a big fan of trackers, and a small dock might solve the access problem.

    “Environmental reflection” may be worth further consideration. Reflection from snow has been shown to increase PV output, and I’ve heard of people that have graded an area in front of their arrays with white gravel. “In my head” geometry suggests that there’d be little Summer benefit for a fixed South-facing PV array (high Sun angle = high angle of reflection that would miss the front of the array). However, some benefit might be gained in the Winter, when a low Sun angle = a low angle of reflection hitting a steeply raked PV array.

    You might have to sketch this out to see if geometry would suggest a glimmer of hope…

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    Just a couple of questions:
    How deep is the lake where you intend to install?
    How far out from shore?
    Which side of lake - North - South?
    Do boaters use the lake?

    Insulation shouldn't be a big problem - think of submersible, deep well pumps - use NMW rated cable. My 220 volt pump has been out almost 200 feet in the lake for over 20 years, using NMW. The new one, 120volt, that I run off inverter, is out 170 feet and I used surplus aluminum utility entrance cable, just protected it from sharp rocks. Or you could slide it through poly water line for extra protection from the enviro.
    Wayne
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    I know here in Wisconsin that would be a big no-no. You can't permanently mount anything within either 75 or 150 feet of the water and certainly nothing actually in the water without a pier permit, which run about $75,000 or so I am told because they only give out so many each year and all the marinas purchase them.

    If the lake is small enough for no boating or anyone to not care it might work. If the lake is larger I would bet you couldn't do it without major permits. I looked long and hard at this when I was looking to add more panels or a wind generator. Talk about no obstructions, perfect for wind and solar.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    i bet you get some wicked wind off the lake. didnt you say something about utility turbines going in on the lake or no Brock?
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar pole mount on body of water

    I had heard about them considering it but they haven't done it yet, if they do that was Wisconsin Power and light working on it so they have a little more pull then I do ;). They have quite a few on the highground on the pensula between the bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan that have been producing about 130% of what they had hoped for.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
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