about glint solar
July 1, 2021
It’s been a little over a year since we founded Glint Solar and that warrants some reflections on the past year and why we started the company in the first place.
We officially launched Glint Solar in March of 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 shutdown. Yes, we were a bit nervous about starting a company during the pandemic. However, while the short-term seemed somewhat bleak with a looming recession, the long-term opportunity to make an impact seemed very bright. We were confident that we would add valuable insight via new methods of solar site analysis to accelerate the adoption of solar energy.
What made us optimistic about the future? For starters, we had closely followed the solar industry for several years and seen the rapid cost decrease. In the last 10 years, the cost of solar energy has fallen by almost 90%, making solar increasingly cost efficient. The major breakthrough, however, is solar reaching grid parity in several regions; where new-built utility scale solar is cost competitive to existing coal-fired power plants. This is a paradigm shift that makes us excited!
In the last couple of years, we've watched the floating solar market move from a small niche in land-constrained countries to a fast-growing solar market in many regions of the world. With benefits like no expensive land use, reduced water evaporation in arid climates, ease of deployment and mostly notably the potential for higher yield from water cooling, we were very bullish on how floating photovoltaic could really accelerate the overall adoption of solar energy and become the third pillar of solar energy, along with utility scale and rooftop solar.
Unfortunately, the floating solar sector has witnessed a few unforeseen accidents in the past couple of years where installations have been damaged. With any emerging technology there will be wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Yet, better data on the project site’s environment will mitigate some of these future problems. As Glint Solar was getting started, we spoke to a number of industry stakeholders who called for better data early in the project to mitigate potential risks.
For floating solar to emerge on the main stage, we believe the issue of early site insight needs to be addressed. Just like a house needs to be built on a quality foundation, a solar project is equally dependent on a strong foundation. The project must start with quality data from the very beginning. Developers with experience from land-based solar need new tools to properly site and design floating solar projects. Most importantly, understanding the key characteristics of the site’s environment, especially as it pertains to water is crucial. To help solar developers navigate this need gap, we have found ways to extract and analyze satellite data that provide accurate and comprehensive insights. Some of the parameters that our solar site analysis provides include extreme wind and waves, climate changes, historic water presence, and water level variations over time. Instead of relying on inaccurate empirical data, we can for instance go back 40 years in time by using geospatial data to assess the accuracy of whether there has been water on a specific site.
Why is this important? For a solar installation with an expected lifetime of 25+ years, you want to take the guesswork out of the development process and know if, for instance, a portion of the lake is dry in particularly dry years or what the 50-year wave looks like.
At Glint Solar, we’re setting out on a mission to make solar simple, anywhere. Our mission is to provide solar developers, advisors and consultants with better access to quality data. The potential for floating photovoltaic is massive. We believe we have a role to play in accelerating what we call the floating solar revolution.
We appreciate your readership. Please send us a quick note and let us know which area of floating solar you’d like us to write about as this is just the very first blog entry and many more to come.