Design vetting services for floating solar photo-voltaic (PV) array farms


Floating solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants are being considered as viable alternative alongside land installed solar power plants. Industry is focusing on utilizing the untapped potential of inland water bodies such as lakes, dams, water storage ponds, etc. Solar PV plant array designs are vetted by independent bodies. The typical configuration consists of solar panels mounted on top of High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) floater arrays that are interconnected and moored to piles on the bank or to gravity anchors.

Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) developed the vetting services to provide design vetting to cater to the needs of the domestic industry. IRS utilized its expertise on structural analysis and hydrodynamics for floating structures to develop these services.

The design vetting involved review of design reports submitted by the Client. The process included Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis for confirmation of applied wind loads, buoyancy adequacy, mooring arrangement and loads, calculations for adequacy of piles and gravity anchors and strength of the structure. Finite Element (FE) analysis is used for strength assessment of clamps of solar panels and the floater-spreader frame structure.

The projects were undertaken by the Strategic Research and the Hydrodynamics and Multiphysics teams of IRS.

So far installations of more than 100 MW capacity (cumulative) have been vetted by IRS in 2020-21 and we look forward to perform similar design reviews in the future.