Abandoned quarries and reservoirs for Floating Solar

Abandoned quarries and reservoirs for Floating Solar

Cave dismesse fotovoltaico flottante galleggiante Home



IBS Energy not only is at the forefront when it comes to Grid Parity ground – mounted photovoltaics, but also focuses on the development of Photovoltaic Installations, fixed or with solar trackers in abandoned quarries/bodies of water . How ? Thanks to a floating installation with a cooling system, enhanced by solar mirrors to collect and concentrate incident solar radiation . IBS, as developer and supplier of photovoltaic installations, via floating plants promots their environmental integration . The benefits of the floating application are not only inexpensive, thanks to an increase in production, but also environmental, as there is a greater protection of water resources by reducing its evaporation . There are also benefits such as the recovery of degraded areas e.g. abandoned ex – quarries that, without a recovery plan, could turn into uncontrolled illegal landfills with environmental and health risks .


- Owners of lands, quarries and reservoirs
- Signalmen, business operators and technicians ( surveyors, engineers, architects, etc. )
- Developers, Investors and Consultants
- Power companies
- Other relevant activities


It is a patented installation, developed and marketed in 2010, that consists of a structure or metal frame properly coupled with some floating elements, which allows the presence of a photovoltaic installation able to float on water, both in ex quarries or in resevoirs flooded by water .


Solar radiation is collected via a properly designed structure where the Photovoltaic Panels are fixed . It is a structure that can be made of aluminium (Al) or stainless steel and that supports photovoltaic modules constituted by photovoltaic cells . To optimize the irradiance and energy production, it is possible to change the inclination of the floating PV panels . The floating solar uses floats, characterized by a strong floating capacity on fluids, combined with HDPE supporting structures . A floating solar installation is a modular system, which can be implemented to form larger stand – alone installations, depending on the surface of the ex – quarry or reservoir . How ? Thanks to floating structures that usually aggregate 4 panels, which can be joined to form larger islands . The system is designed to maximize electricity production using floating PV structures . Thanks to the proximity to water surface, and the reflected light that is conveyed on high performance photovoltaic panels, the production of the floating photovoltaic system can increase by 10 % to 20 %, compared to a similar system installed on the ground .


What differentiates a traditional photovoltaic from a floating photovoltaic installation, simply known as a floating solar ? Instead of referring to a ground-mounted photovoltaic arranged on a surface that remains motionless we refer to a fluid element, water . Therefore, these installations, not only are provided with the same technology and latest generation photovoltaic panels, but are also implemented with specific technologies that allow the installations themselves to float on diversified surfaces and bodies of water .


- Ex – mine quarries ( mine quarries now flooded by water and abandoned )
- Natural or artificial lakes and reservoirs
- Catchment reservoirs for drinking water
- Lakes and reservoirs for agricultural and/or storage irrigation
- Large waste water treatment plants
- Large sedimentation tanks
- Hydroelectric dams and mountain lakes
- Lakes, ponds, lagoons
- etc.


Although, until 2016, this type of installation was carried out almost exclusively in protected areas with small sized installations, it is now in an experimental stage on large surfaces, and in unprotected places such as open seas or lakes . This is also due to the growing interest in this technology that is expected to undergo a strong development, soon reaching over 1 GW of installed capacity worldwide, and then achieve far more important results quickly . All of this has been possible thanks to some Singapore experiments, that by using Japanese, Italian, Korean and French technologies has installed floating photovoltaics in huge drinking water reserves . Therefore, excellent results in terms of energy production have been achieved . Subsequently, the same technology has experienced a significant growth on a global scale .

Ex Cave discariche dighe bacini idrici fotovoltaico flottante



- A low environmental impact, a positive or at most a neutral one with no danger to the balance between the ecosystems ;
- Evaporation is reduced by covering the surface of water ;
- The organoleptic qualities of water are improved by limiting the algae bloom through the shading performed by the platform ;
- The gradual erosion of the reservoirs is significantly reduced thanks to a reduction in the wave motion and the wave action .


- It is possible to limit the use of soil and to store land and water as valuable sources for more important purposes ;
- It is possible to recover and rehabilitate contaminated areas ,e.g. ex – quarries, and at the same time produce clean energy ;
- it is a technology that not only has a good appearance, but also a full compatibility with recreational activities .


- To convert abandoned areas, such as abandoned quarries, into productive and profitable areas ;
- To significantly reduce major infrastructure investments and the connection to the national electricity costs ;
- To reduce the timing and to speed up the processes of development and the obtaining of permits, although in the presence of abandoned quarries these are already faster, as they do not require all the steps expected by an Environmental Impact Assessment EIA demand ;
- To improve electricity production .


IBS thanks anyone who sends information and is interested in collaborating in the reporting or development of this type of photovoltaic installations in abandoned quarries or reservoirs .


Floating Solar Project


Name of the reservoir : ________________________ ** If it does not have a name, state name, city or country **

Type of reservoir : ** Select the appropriate entry **
o Abandoned quarry and flooded mines
o Storage reservoir
o Irrigation reservoir
o Water treatment tank
o Rain water storage tanks
o Industrial reservoir/ hydroelectric dam
o Lakes, ponds, lagoons
o Other to be specified____________________________

Location: _______________________________

** Attach a Google Earth kmz file, GPS coordinates or a Google Maps link **

HIGH WATER LEVEL: _________ ( meters )

** To design shape and size of the installations, and so avoid a collusion with the bank **
** Levels above sea level or above bottom level ( bottom = 0 ) **
** Enter expected levels in the next 25 years **

BANK LEVEL : _______ ( meters )

BOTTOM WATER LEVEL : ________ ( meters )

LOW WATER LEVEL : _________ ( meters )

** Can be the same as the bottom **

BANK SOIL COMPOSITION : _________________________________________________

** To evaluate the anchor system suitable for the type of soil on the bottom: muddy, sandy, stony **
** Density : soft, average, hard **

BOTTOM SOIL COMPOSITION : ___________________________________________________________

IS THE RESERVOIR COVERED WITH GEOTEXILE OR MEMBRANE ? ___________________________________________
ON THE BANK ? ___________________________
ON THE BOTTOM ? ___________________________


Type of use of the produced photovoltaic energy : ** Select the appropriate entry **

Self -consumption
Onsite exchange ( up to 500 kWp)
Feed – in

Installed power required : ** Select the appropriate entry **

o MWp (dc)
o MVA (ac)

Individual module power : __________ W

** If a specific photovoltaic module is needed, send us a technical sheet **
** It is preferrable for a module to be made up of 72 cells to reduce the number of modules per installed capacity . If the specific power is not specified, a module with 72 cells will be designed .**
** Preferred voltage level system ( DC ): 1,000 V 1,500 V **

Network connection point location : _______________________________________

** Example: GPS coordinates << southeast from the basin >>**


Floating solar project relevant information :

- Site – specific conditions : _______________________________________________________
- Wind maximum speed : _______________________________________________________
- Network connection : ____________________________________________________________
- Maintenance of the reservoir : ___________________________________________________________


- Bathymetric and topographic maps ( dwg, CAD files )
- Technical sheets of the photovoltaic modules / inverters
- Site photos .

cave miniere fotovoltaico galleggiante vantaggi



Click here to download : FLOATING SOLAR CHECK – LIST


Contact us at the following e-mail to send the core data of an abandoned quarry / reservoir for an installation of a floating solar or to receive further information :
floating mail ibs energy


- Name of the company/ contact person
- Core business
- Google Earth location of the quarry / reservoir
- Illustrate the site and its conditions

Thank you for your cooperation

cave dismesse fotovoltaico floating contatti


Detailed analysis of the floating solar advantages :

The advantages that a floating solar system has if installed e.g. in an ex – quarry, compared to not floating traditional photovoltaic systems :

MINIMUM LAND CONSUMPTION that can be used for agricultural purposes : as floating installations are installed in water reservoirs ‘’ they do not consume land ’’, except for the components that allow connection to the national electricity grid . The use of the floating solar is strategic especially in foreign countries or even in Italy, where valuable soil and lands are protected by the Regions that outstand in the agri – food sector, or where flat terrain is scarce and particularly expensive . It is therefore necessary to preserve agricultural land, especially in areas with high population density, so that they are used for greater public utility purposes . It is also important not to take away territories from the rural habitat in areas with a balance between fauna and flora, and to find alternative ways of producing energy without adversely affecting the territory, the environment and the landscape, bringing together energy independence with the purpose of safeguarding the territory itself and ensuring the hydraulic safety of the concerned areas .

ABSENCE OF STRUCTURES : as they float, floating solar installations do not need to build or provide structures / infrastructures to support/ orient the panels . Furthermore, these structures show how important the installation decomissioning phase and the restoration of the pre – existing environmental condition and status are .

WATER SAVING : in the case of areas intended for irrigation or human consumption, if we reduce evaporation of the underlying water to a maximum of 80 %, we obtain a great water saving . Considering the gradual and constant decline in fresh water on the globe and given that, thanks to these floating installations there is a reduction in evaporation of over 80 % on an annual basis, such technologies should be subsidised in arid countries with scarce water reserves through EU policies . In fact in arid countries, water is always scarce. And so, by preserving water resources with floating solar installations, e.g. in rainwater collection tanks / aqueduct basins, important results and benefits for the population would be reached, also avoiding exodus in periods of greatest drought, reducing the migratory phenomena .

EFFICIENCY INCREASE : the output of floating panels is higher when compared to ground – mounted installations . This is showed by studies on operating installations, especially in areas close to the ground, where summer high temperatures lead to a reduction in the output and life span of photovoltaic panels . With the same size or other characteristic elements of the installation, a floating photovoltaic park, e.g. installed in an ex – quarry, compared to the same one installed on the ground, can lead to an increase from 7 to 15 % of the produced electricity .

LOW MAINTENANCE : as they are installed on water, photovoltaic panels do not need frequent cleaning that is instead necessary on the ground, especially for floating solar in abandoned quarries in dusty areas . The amount of dust above the surface of water, in the air above it, is minor if compared to the mainland, as the dust raised by the wind near the bodies of water does not get past the shore . In addition, another benefit is being able to avoid cutting the grass or vegetation that grows under the ground – mounted installations. Finally, soil levelling activities, especially in ex – quarries with particular extracted materials or initial preparation costs of the site, are absent or reduced to a minimum .

LOWER SOLAR TRACKING AND COOLING COSTS : Compared to the ground – mounted photovoltaic, e.g. in an abandoned quarry, water makes the implementing of solar – tracking plant technologies and panels cooling operations easier, which is fundamental, especially in summer, in territories with strong solar irradiance . These floating technologies cause an increase in the energy produced that can go up to 20 % regarding the solar tracking, and 10 % when it comes to the cooling of the panels .

GREATER RECYCLABILITY OF COMPONENTS another benefit to the environment, thanks to the minimal presence of fixed infrastructures, is that of maximising the use of recyclable materials in the floating solar, as the building and implementation of these installations provide a greater use of mainly HDPE ( high density polyethilene ), aluminium and steel materials .

RECOVERY OF ABANDONED QUARRIES : it is common to find many abandoned quarries that were then flooded by water, and the installation of floating solar allows the realization of a control of the area . Therefore, an investment of money in trasforming them is avoided, and the risk of them ending up in abusive uncontrolled landfills is excluded .

INTEGRATED STORAGE AND STAND – ALONE INSTALLATION : The application of floating solar is compatible with integrated storage systems to allow photovoltaic installations to be energetically independent and autonomous . For example, in Italy, in small islands, it is difficult to find appropriate spaces to house generating plants and solar parks through ground – mounted PV . Large parks, even if eligible in terms of host areas, would have high electricity production costs . This is because they are often far from infrastructures that allow a cheap connection to the national electricity grid . On the other hand, by identifying existing areas and reservoirs which have not been used ( or flooded abandoned quarries ), even close to energy-intensive or high energy consumption users ( urban and industrial areas ), thanks to floating installations the high costs and losses of energy, which the electricity infrastructures involve in terms of transport, distribution and transmission, would be significantly reduced .

GREATER EFFICIENCY : the high efficiency, if compared to ground – mounted installations of equal power , is favored by the proximity of photovoltaic solar panels to water, that cools the silicon cells in moments of greater production, increasing the efficiency . Light, reflected by water thanks to its reflective properties ( unlike the ground ), makes a major contribution in terms of efficiency, especially at high latitudes . In winter, however, properties, in terms of water heat exchange, determine a mitigating effect on the panels, which can defrost faster with the result of gaining up to an hour of production per day .

FLOATING AND GROUND – MOUNTED PHOTOVOLTAICS : EQUAL COSTS BUT GREATER BENEFITS in addition to ensuring a significant increase in production, the floating solar avoids consuming soil, preserves water reserves and reduces water evaporation . Furthermore, it has costs that are similar to the ground – mounted photovoltaic . Therefore, if you have an abandoned quarry/ artificial or natural water reservoir, with a significant consumption of electricity, choosing a floating solar instead of a traditional system would be an absolutely winning choice .

FLOATING SOLAR AND DAMS : a photovoltaic park installed near hydroelectric plants with re – pumping stations would allow the use of sun ’s energy to implement the system, thanks to storage technologies in the form of potential energy . This technology fits perfectly in the case of dams, reservoirs, quarry lakes, storage irrigation tanks, water treatment and conditioning tanks . These are generally well irradiated by the sun, protected, and sometimes close to energy – intensive consumption sites, and therefore are ideal candidates for floating solar.


Some associations for the protection of the environment have expressed their concerns about installations of this type, that through installations in quarries or bodies of water could generate critical situations in case of nests placed by animals under the panels of the floating solar . Therefore, efforts are made to find solutions with a low environmental impact to avoid, as far as possible, the use of areas of environmental value, or of a particular faunal importance, and give priority to sites in degraded areas or pre-existing artificial areas .
The impact on aquatic fauna and flora that could be disturbed by this type of installation on water surfaces is still being verified . However, there are several studies conducted by neutral third – party organizations, including Gumi Electronic & IT Research Institute ( GER ) and Korean KETEP, the Korean Environment Institute ( KEI ), according to which adverse environmental effects would not appear to be determined . However, these studies will continue to ensure a non – negative impact on the environment, also trying to improve the installations to make them even more environmentally friendly .

cave miniere recupero con il fotovoltaico


A quarry is a type of open – pit mine in which dimension stone, rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, gravel, or slate is excavated from the ground. In Italy, the operation of quarries is regulated under the provisions of Royal Decree no. 1443 of 29 July 1927 .


Quarry materials are :
- building, road and hydraulic constructions materials ;
- peat ;
- quartz, diatomaceous earth, silica sands, gritstones, sharpening stones, soil with coloured pigments ;
- materials not defined as mines materials in the decree .


- clay quarries to obtain bricks ;
- sand and gravel quarries to make concrete ;
- silica quarries to make glass and ceramics ;
- limestone quarries to make cement ;
- chalk quarries ;
- decoration and building stone quarries : marble, granite, gneiss ( e.g. serizzo, Luserna stone ), sandstone ( e.g. Macigno, Trani stone ), travertine, slate and strain quarries .
Mining can only be carried out after a state concessione has been granted . On the other hand, bogs and quarries are regulated by the landowner and are subject to regional legislation .


Quarries, and mines too, can be :
- pit quarries / mines
- underground quarries / mines
- open – pit quarries / mines
Open – pit quarries are the most common ones, but there also is underground quarrying, often in the case of valuable materials ( Carrara marble quarries and Milan cathedral Candoglia marble quarries ).

In the case of ornamental stone quarries ( e.g. marble and granite quarry ) equipment and technologies are used to detach large, regular and free of defects boulders . The boulder is detached from the wall thanks to sharp cuts, done using specific machines such as chain saw cutting machine and diamond wire cutting machine .


- 5.273 active and non – active mining sites, 5.137 quarries and 136 mines
- 6,2 % less than 2015
- Among 25 % of Italian municipalties, about 2.013 reported at least 1 mining site ;
- 2.295 active sites, of which 2.227 quarries and 68 mines, that extract 167,8 million tons of non – energy minerals ;
- 83,8 % quarry minerals equal to 154 milion tons ; limestone, travertine, chalk , sandstone which equals to 48,6 % of the total quarrying ;
- 44 % of the quarrying done in Nothern Italy which is equal to 68 milion tons ; Lombardy in the lead for number of quarries in production ( 273) and it’s the 14,4 % of the total quarrying ;
- solid minerals dug up from mines which is equal to 13,7 million tons ;
- Ceramic and industrial minerals equal to 5,7 milion tons, cement marl equal to 5,5 milion tons ; and the 58,5 % of the production in Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria ;
- Mine minerals, mineral water extraction equal to 16,2 milion cubic meters, of which 57 % in north Italy: Lombardy with 3,3 milion cubic meters, Piedmont and Veneto with 50,7 % of the country ’s total .

https://web.archive.org/web/20120119011423/http://www.autorita.bacinoserchio.it/normative/norme_generali/cave/rd_1443_1927 on autorita.bacinoserchio.it


quarries and bogs’ legislation