The one-day online conference offers an ideal opportunity to obtain comprehensive and in-depth information about floating PV. Various aspects of floating PV will be presented and discussed in several sessions: From market developments and first-hand best practice examples on lakes and off the coast, to financing possibilities and technical challenges above and below the water surface.
Historically, both, ground and roof-top mounted solar PV systems have dominated the global PV installation landscape. However, today, hailed as the 3rd pillar – floating solar PV, either built on land-based water bodies or in coastal maritime areas, due to its various advantages, is gaining popularity and according to the World Bank approx. 2 GW were installed by the end of 2019.
Although, initial developments took place across several countries in East-Asia in particular, nowadays floating solar PV (FPV) is making inroads into the European market. In this context, to date, Europe’s largest floating photovoltaic installation located in The Netherlands hosting a capacity of 27.4 MW became operational in June 2020. According to the findings of a national potential assessment study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Germany has an economical potential of 2.74 GWp on pit lakes on former lignite mines. Such former lignite opencast mines are in particular suitable for FPV, because usually they are located in the vicinity of the existing grid.
A large advantage of floating PV (FPV) is not only its higher land-use efficiency (1.33 MW/hectare), but as well that it helps to ease the increasing conflict of covering arable land for power generation instead of using it for agricultural purposes. Furthermore, the water itself causes a cooling effect, resulting in slightly higher energy yields compared to ground-mounted PV arrays. Floating PV systems are also relatively easy to install and although highly site-specific, but e.g. an execution of a 30 MW system can take only approx. up to 8 weeks.
Today, floating PV installations are still a niche, therefore slightly more expensive than ground-mounted solar parks, however, benefiting from reduced construction cost, ease of execution, economies of scale, etc, prices are anticipated to fall significantly in the near future. The majority of currently existing FPV’s are located on land-based water bodies, however, first pilot applications are now being put into operation off-shore, including one in the North Sea off the Dutch coast.
Learn more about floating PV at this year’s online Floating Solar PV Conference!
Although still a niche, floating solar, whether deployed on lakes, reservoirs, dams or rivers, is gaining momentum across the globe and is anticipated to have exceeded 2 GW of cumulative capacity by the end of 2019. Presentations will feature global market developments, first-hand experience, lessons learned and encountered O&M challenges. Additionally, given the relatively new development of floating solar, issues related to financing & bankability shall be addressed as well.
To date, two design concepts dominate floating solar PV farms, i.e. floats usually made out of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and alternatively, reinforced, fully hydro-elastic membranes. Depending on the specific project site characteristics, both design have its advantages. Until recently, discussions about such designs were largely limited to what happens above the water surface. However, given the challenging surrounding environmental conditions, concepts regarding anchoring and mooring systems are gaining increasingly attention. This session will focus on various pursued design concepts, deployed materials, corresponding challenges and lessons learned to date.
Due to its relatively early stage of development, floating solar PV constantly evolves e.g. in terms of business models, favoured being co-located with hydropower or new technological approaches like single or double axis trackers. Given that FPV is not limited to land-based water bodies and despite it may take another 2-3 years until off-shore designed floating solar will become commercially available, in light of the harsh(er) environmental conditions, nevertheless several companies are working in high gears developing off-shore floating solar systems. This session will offer insights regarding emerging businesses, technological trends for both on and off-shore floating PV.