A common criticism of solar power is that ground-mounted arrays take land out of use for the duration of a system’s lifespan. Also, much of the flat land is taken from agriculture use. The land in and around cities is densely populated. Finding room for solar is getting more and more difficult. One solution: Put it on water bodies!
It is pertinent to mention here that the rooftops and ground are no longer the only places where solar can be installed – water bodies are a viable choice too and the so-called “Floatovoltaics” or “FPV” come to the rescue. The NREL released a report in December 2018 that found floating solar arrays could account for 10% of the nation’s energy needs if they were installed on just a quarter of the man-made lakes and ponds in the United States. The same NREL found that nearly 24,419 human-made water bodies in the United States are suitable for FPV development.
What is a floating solar system?
A floating solar system is an evolving technology in which solar panels are placed directly on top of a floating platform on a body of water rather than on land or on a building rooftop. Floating solar systems are gaining traction across the world. A recent market research report by Technavio predicts that the floating solar market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 31% from 2018-2022. 52% of the growth will come from the Americas. The U.S. had only seven floating arrays in 2017, but they are now starting to gain momentum.