What is a Floating Solar Farm?

What is a Floating Solar Farm?

Interest in floating solar PV (FSPV) continues to grow worldwide, with its design and capabilities offering many advantages – especially for areas where land suitable for ground mount solar is scarce.

Floating solar farms are created by attaching solar photovoltaic panels to a buoyant platform, which rests about the water’s surface.

These platforms are typically moored on calmer bodies of water, such as ponds, lakes or reservoirs. The opportunity for co-location of a floating solar farm with an existing hydropower plant is also starting to gain in traction.

Interest and investment in floating solar PV

At present, 60+ countries are actively pursuing the deployment of FSPV and there are estimated to be around 350 operational FSPV systems, producing a total of 2.6 GW of renewable energy. The World Bank has predicted there will be an explosion of floating solar over the next two decades, writing in its market report that “floating solar offers significant opportunities for the global expansion of solar energy capacity”.

With high population density, land scarcity and mountainous terrains, Asia continues to lead the way in the deployment of FSPV, with countries such as China, India and South Korea expected to account for roughly two thirds of global demand moving forward.

In the US, four years ago there were just two floating solar farms, by the end of 2020 year there will be more than 20. New Zealand recently unveiled its first floating solar power plant, while The Netherlands, France and other parts of Europe are also looking to capitalise on the technology.

Benefits of a floating solar power plant

FSPV installations are relatively quick to construct, silent to run and require no land levelling or removal of vegetation.

They are also thought to provide additional environmental benefits, such as by decreasing evaporation and water loss. For example, when used within agricultural reservoirs, the solar panels can reduce evaporation, improve water quality, and serve as an energy source for pumping and irrigation.

Being most cost-effective when built at scale, such developments are currently best suited for utility companies and municipalities.

At Anesco, we have more than a decade of experience in the design and construction of grid scale solar assets as well as their operations, maintenance and optimisation. Call 0118 970 2555.


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