The future of solar photovoltaic is clear. The Floating solar photovoltaic, a relatively new concept, is an emerging technology with the potential of rapid growth.
This kind of system refers to any kind of solar panels that float on water. The demand for floating solar PV is expanding, especially on islands. There are several reasons why this is happening:
Lower cost of space
The water surface cost is generally lower than the cost of the land. Most of these panel installations take unused space in the water, which reduces the need of forest clearing in order to install this panels in the land.
As well as reducing the forest clearing and the tree removal, the use of floating photovoltaic systems have another environmental benefits, like providing shade to the water. This is very useful for the evaporation and the water loss of lakes, ponds…
One of the world´s largest operational floating solar plant is located eastern China, in Huainan City, with a capacity of 150 MW, expected to generate 78000 MWh in its first year. As the efficiency of a regular solar panel tends to decrease as the temperature rise, a floating panel system helps to cool down and to increase the efficiency in very high temperature locations.
However, one of the biggest reasons why the demand of this technology is increasing, is the opportunity to combine space with offshore wind. An offshore floating PV plant new project in the North Sea is expected to be scaled up to 50 KW after one year and eventually, up to 100MW. This solar panels can float between the wind turbines at sea, resulting in a hybrid system that can provide more stable power for the grid.