One of the potentially limiting characteristics of solar power is the fact that it takes up a lot of space. Solar panels obviously aren’t going to be of much use if they’re stacked one on top of the other, so instead must be spread out side-by-side, so each one can soak up the sun’s rays. Although they’re generally not in the way when mounted on top of buildings, large arrays of solar panels could start to become a hindrance when located on the ground.

Tech companies from Israel and France, however, are developing what could be a way of avoiding that situation – floating solar panels that are installed on the surface of existing bodies of water.

Called AQUASUN, the system is the result of a collaboration between Israel’s Solaris Synergy and the French EDF Group. The panels themselves utilize silicon cells, which are less expensive than other types, but also prone to inefficiency caused by overheating. Due to a cooling system that incorporates the water on which they’re floating, however, overheating is said not to be a problem in this case. A system of mirrors that concentrates the sun’s rays onto the panels reportedly boosts their efficiency further, reducing the number of panels needed and thus helping to lower costs even more.

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