Floating solar photovoltaic power generation certainly offers high growth potential. It comes with the benefit of requiring minimal space, compared to other options. Successful Floating PV installations also have the advantage of water's cooling effect, reduced shading, reduced civil works, reduced grid interconnection costs, reduced water evaporation improved water quality, and reduced algal blooming.
Despite these incentives, floating solar still represents less than 0.5% of the total solar photovoltaic installations globally and an even smaller share of the entire renewables market. Here are some reasons why:
- During installation, there are significant challenges related to anchoring and mooring them in place, accounting for possible water level variations, the reservoir’s bed type and depth, and extreme weather situations such as high winds and waves. Accordingly, engineering and construction costs are usually higher than those of a round-mounted solar farm.
- Safety issues arise due to floating solar involving water and electricity. Consequently, more attention must be given to cable management and insulation testing than on land, especially when cables are in contact with water.
- In a floating solar plant, there are moving parts that are subject to constant friction and mechanical stress. Systems that are poorly designed and maintained could suffer from catastrophic failures.
- The Floating PV installations tend to be at risk of degradation and corrosion due to moisture, especially in more aggressive coastal environments.
- Developing a floating solar plant on a site requires a thorough understanding of its water-bed topography and suitability for setting up anchors for floats. This makes site selection costly and complicated.
At the Floating PV forum, João Felgueiras will give a presentation on:
Tracking - Strategy & Challenges in Floating PV
• “Pains” & Threats in Floating PV
• How to potentiate the production output
• From small to large scale Floating PV projects
• Achieve sustainability in Floating PV
João Felgueiras is the General Manager at SolarisFloat.