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Floating Panels: The Future of Solar Energy

Updated: Apr 17


floating panels in the water

Floating panels, also known as floatovoltaics, are solar panels that are installed on a floating structure on the surface of bodies of water, such as reservoirs and lakes. This technology has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its many advantages over traditional land-based solar installations.


Advantages of Floating Solar: Land-Free Efficiency, Environmental Benefits, and Cost Competitiveness

One of the biggest advantages of floating solar panels is that it does not require any land. This is especially important in densely populated areas or areas with limited land availability. The most common locations for floating solar panels are retention pools, cooling ponds, or hydroelectric dams, but floating solar can also be installed on bodies of water that are not suitable for other uses, such as abandoned reservoirs or contaminated lakes. States like Florida are home to hundreds of thousands of acres of deemed non-recreational bodies of water that could benefit from floating solar.


Another advantage of floating solar is that it can be more efficient than land-based solar installations. The cooling effect of water reduces the internal temperature of the solar panels, which can increase their power output by up to 15%. Project life Operational and Maintenance costs over water are reduced as the project is not subjected to costs like overgrowth trimming and burrowing animals. With a 25-year expected life on floatation for AccuSolar, annual costs are expected to be a fraction of ground mount.


Floating panels can also have environmental benefits. According to an NREL study, the reduction of evaporation can be up to 50% over the covered surface area. Additional studies are being done regarding the improvement of water quality and the positive impact floating solar can have on limiting algae blooms.


The cost of floating panels has decreased significantly in recent years, and this technology is now becoming more competitive with land-based solar installations. As a result, the global market for floating solar is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.


Ways Floating Solar Panels Can Revolutionize the Solar Energy Industry:

  • Increased Solar Capacity: Floating solar panels can be installed on bodies of water that are not suitable for other uses, such as abandoned reservoirs or contaminated lakes. This could significantly increase the global solar capacity.

  • Reduced Land Use: Floating solar panels do not require any land, which is especially important in densely populated areas or areas with limited land availability.

  • Improved Efficiency: Floating solar panels are more efficient than land-based solar installations because the water helps to cool the panels.

  • Environmental Benefits: Floating solar panels can help to reduce water evaporation from reservoirs and lakes, and they can also provide habitat for aquatic plants and animals.

  • Challenges: While floating panels offer many advantages, some challenges need to be addressed before this technology can be widely adopted.

  • Cost: The cost of floating panels is still higher than the cost of land-based solar installations. However, the cost of floating panels is decreasing rapidly, and this technology is expected to become more competitive in the coming years.

  • Engineering Challenges: Floating panels need to be designed and engineered to withstand the unique challenges of being installed on water, such as waves, currents, and storms.

  • Environmental Concerns: Some people have concerns about the environmental impact of floating panels, such as the impact on fish and other aquatic life. However, research has shown that floating panels can have a positive impact on the environment by reducing water evaporation and providing habitat for aquatic plants and animals.


A Promising Future for Renewable Energy

Overall, floating solar has the potential to revolutionize the Renewable Energy industry. This technology offers many advantages over traditional land-based solar installations, such as increased solar capacity, reduced land use, improved efficiency, and environmental benefits.


While there are still some challenges that need to be addressed, floating panels are expected to play a major role in the future of solar energy. For more information contact the AccuSolar team!


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