Innovation meets technology as the first-ever floating solar farm in Chile has been installed at the Los Bronces mines which is just a few miles north of Santiago.
Known as Hydrelio, the floating solar farm was developed by Ciel & Terre, a French company known for designing, financing, installing, and operating large-scale floating solar farms, along with Lenergie, a Chilean solar development and engineering company.
The floating photovoltaic farm is said to generate up to 153 megawatt-hours per annum for the Los Bronces mines while keeping water evaporation to a minimum at the tailings pond. The developers said that this product is a perfect mix of innovation and technology intended for producing energy while remaining environmentally-friendly at the same time.
As the first ever floating photovoltaic farm on a tailings pond within the country, the installation is designed to generate enough electricity for the mining giant to consume for a whole year. Also, Ciel & Terre made sure that this technology can directly benefit the environment by minimizing carbon emissions and water evaporation.
The floating PV farm is equipped with an anchoring system that can easily adapt to the rising and falling of water levels up to a variation of 25 meters.
As of now, Chile has around 740 tailing ponds which could all be appropriate locations for the installation of such floating PV farm.
According to Minister of Mines Baldo Prokurica, there have been several safety concerns regarding the tailings dam issue, but he also mentioned the concern regarding the optimization of the use of such bodies of water in mining sites.
Various recovery projects are currently in use in various locations throughout the US in an effort to become as environment-friendly as possible with their operations.
A number of studies are also looking at the possibilities of using floating wind energy for offshore oil and gas plants.