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Offshore Solar Energy

Solar energy can be tapped directly by Photovoltaic (PV) cells or indirectly by concentrating solar power. PV cells produce direct current electricity by releasing the electrons when they are exposed to sun, which can be stored or transferred into the grid with an inverter. On the other hand, concentration solar power (CSP) requires a large flat area to heat a liquid substance which is then used to drive an electric generator. This method generates alternating current (AC) which can be easily distributed into the grids. The use of offshore solar power plants would increase the resource power for countries like Europe, where landscape for CSP is scare. Offshore solar power plants offer two technical advantages. Firstly, the implementation of vertical axis to track sun heat is easy which not only simplifies the requirement of CSP but also avoids shading between collector rows. Secondly, the cooling water needed for solar plants is available easily which would increase the efficiency in thermodynamic cycle. Offshore solar power plants reduce water requirement for cleaning up the panels due to concentration of dust, especially in desert areas. The performance of offshore solar plant depends basically on solar irradiation and the status of the sea which includes wave and wind motion and their variability.