The Philippines’ first floating solar testbed is being built on Laguna Lake, just outside downtown Manila, using Trina Solar’s Duomax TSM-DEG14 and Tallmax TSM-PD14 modules.
Junrhey Castro, Trina Solar’s Philippines country manager, says floating solar is an important step forward for the Philippine renewable energy sector as it negotiates challenges such as rising land costs.
“The main benefits of floating solar are clear: much lower land costs and improved module efficiency through natural cooling. It also has the potential to control algae bloom, as well as limit evaporative water loss which is important for hot, water-scarce regions like Metro Manila,” adds Castro.
(Photo: Floating solar testbed on the Laguna Lake. Credit: SunAsia Energy)
The test is in how well the aluminium frame modules will perform on the water, he says, adding that the Trina Solar modules will be up against corrosion and storm forces. Storms hit the Philippines about 20 times a year on average and are an important consideration for developers of floating solar.
SunAsia Energy, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company developing the testbed, is using an innovative screw piling method to anchor the modules. This allows modules to move more freely in waves.
Karlo Abril, the SunAsia Energy project officer involved in the 20.5kW installation, says the method is different from that used in Japan and Taiwan, where installations are bolted to the water surface for stability.
SunAsia Energy adds that it is optimistic about the testbed’s field performance and will develop the project into a utility-scale installation if results are favorable.
Trina Solar’s Tallmax TSM-PD14 modules are certified to withstand harsh environmental conditions such as 35mm hailstones at 97 km/h and a wind load of 2400Pa. They also have a waterproof rating of IP67, which means they can be immersed in up to one metre of water.
The Duomax TSM-DEG14 modules also designed to handle challenging environmental conditions, such as wind load up to 2400Pa.