What are the advantages of floating PV systems?

Floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems, also known as floating solar farms, offer several advantages over traditional ground-mounted or rooftop solar installations:

  1. Efficient Use of Space:
    • Land Conservation: FPV systems do not require land, making them ideal for areas with limited available land or where land is expensive.
    • Water Bodies Utilization: They can be installed on various water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, and ponds, providing a new way to utilize these surfaces.
  2. Improved Energy Generation:
    • Cooling Effect: Water bodies help cool the solar panels, increasing their efficiency and energy output. Lower temperatures reduce the thermal degradation of solar panels.
    • Reflection from Water: The water surface can reflect sunlight onto the panels, potentially increasing the amount of solar energy captured.
  3. Environmental Benefits:
    • Reduced Water Evaporation: Covering water bodies with FPV systems reduces water evaporation, which is beneficial for water conservation, especially in drought-prone areas.
    • Water Quality Improvement: FPV systems can help reduce the growth of algae by limiting sunlight penetration into the water, thus improving water quality.
  4. Reduced Shading and Dust:
    • Less Dust Accumulation: Water surfaces typically have less dust compared to land, which means the panels stay cleaner and maintain efficiency longer.
    • Minimal Shading Issues: Large water bodies are generally free from obstructions that can cause shading, ensuring consistent sunlight exposure.
  5. Synergy with Hydropower:
    • Complementary Operation: FPV systems can be integrated with existing hydropower plants, sharing infrastructure such as transmission lines and substations, which can reduce costs and enhance the efficiency of the power grid.
    • Grid Stability: Combining FPV with hydropower can provide a more stable and reliable power supply, as the hydropower can balance the intermittent nature of solar power.
  6. Economic Benefits:
    • Lower Land Acquisition Costs: Since they are installed on water, there is no need for expensive land purchases or leases.
    • Potential Revenue Streams: Water bodies used for FPV can generate additional revenue for reservoir or dam owners.
  7. Scalability and Flexibility:
    • Scalable Installations: FPV systems can be easily scaled up or down to meet energy needs, and additional capacity can be added without significant changes to the existing infrastructure.
    • Modular Design: The modular nature of FPV systems allows for flexible installation and easy maintenance.
  8. Climate Resilience:
    • Reduced Land Use Conflicts: FPV reduces conflicts over land use, which is particularly important in densely populated or agricultural regions.
    • Adaptability to Water Level Changes: FPV systems can adapt to changing water levels, making them resilient to seasonal variations and droughts.

These advantages make floating photovoltaic systems a promising option for expanding renewable energy capacity while addressing some of the limitations of traditional solar installations.