Solar Lily Pads Gently Floating And Gathering Energy on the River Clyde

May 13, 2008 by Mary Anne Simpson weblog
Water Lily Solar Panels
Water Lily Solar Panels. Credit: ZM Architecture

The preeminent Glasgow, Scotland based architecture firm ZM Architecture has big ideas for attracting solar energy in a very aesthetic manner. The proposed Water Lily Solar panels for the Clyde River in Glasgow will track the sun and transfer the accumulated energy to the main grid in Scotland.

The innovative architectural firm, ZM Architecture in Glasgow, Scotland was awarded the International Design Award in the Land and Sea category for its alternative energy proposal Solar Lily Pads.

The concept extracted from nature involves placing large solar discs on the surface of the River Clyde which are tethered to the river bed. The lily pad-like solar discs were created by ZM Architecture to aesthetically blend into the river ecology.

According to the BBC news service, the lily pad solar panels are equipped with an integrated motor and sensor which allows the discs to rotate toward the sun. This technology allows the solar lily pad panels to achieve the maximum exposure to the sun's rays.

The plan would allow energy generated from the solar lily pads to be transferred to the main grid in Scotland. In addition the plan has an aesthetic component. It is expected to increase the aesthetics in areas surrounding the River Clyde which would increase foot traffic and tourism.

The proposal was submitted to the Glasgow City Council for a trial project. At this point, ZM Architecture is hopeful the citizens of Glasgow and the Glasgow City Council will implement a trial project of this innovative alternative project.

Explore further: Artificial 'beaks' that collect water from fog: A drought solution?

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mvg
4 / 5 (1) May 13, 2008
Great idea--but the Clyde seems like a rather dreek place to collect sunlight.
cybrbeast
5 / 5 (1) May 14, 2008
Solar panels on rooftops aren't ugly when installed correctly, so I don't really see a need for this.
Soylent
not rated yet May 14, 2008
Great idea--but the Clyde seems like a rather dreek place to collect sunlight.


For obvious reasons the best areas for collecting solar power tend to be dry and desolate regions out in the middle of nowhere. The kind of places humans generally don't like living in if they have a choice.

There's a trade-off here. If you build them out in the middle of nowhere you'll be paying through the nose for the powerlines alone; at least if you plop them down right next to existing infrastructure that can be avoided even if they won't collect as much energy.
Soylent
not rated yet May 14, 2008
My guess is that this is just a symptom of renewables targets.
Fritz
5 / 5 (1) May 14, 2008
Given that solar panels can be installed on any horizontal surface, while I don't mind the idea of placing them aesthetically in a river, wouldn't it make more sense to harness the kinetic energy of the moving water? How about built into the "tether" system for the solar pads?