Offshore solar energy is possibly the most important future step in the harnessing of solar energy, according to the study.
Since no long-term offshore solar installation exists to date, various unknowns are still present, creating a research gap.
For instance, floating structures will have some type of response to incoming waves.
This response is highly dependent on the design of the floating structure.
This response will have some effect on the insolation on offshore solar systems installed on floating structures, the scientists said.
Therefore, the researchers have developed a simulation tool that would allow an offshore system designer to assess this effect in order to minimize it and thus, optimize the energy yield of the system
The simulation tool was verified with an experimental setup that simulated sinusoidal wave responses, the researchers said.
The research, expected to improve the design of offshore floating platforms used for solar installations, was supported by the Maltese Regulator for Energy and Water Services through the Research Innovation and Development Trust of the University of Malta, as part of the SOLAQUA project.
The data and software presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.