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Ultimate Glossary of Floating Solar Terms

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Solar Panels pointed toward a blue sky with clouds

Over the last few years, the solar industry has taken the world by storm. New developments continue to arise, and solar continues to be a top choice as a source for renewable, clean energy.

At the heart of AccuSolar's mission to create top-of-the-line floating solar platforms lies a relentless drive for innovation. With extensive expertise in floating dock technology, we are uniquely equipped to deliver cutting-edge solutions to meet the energy demands of businesses and organizations. Our team's unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in renewable energy ensures that our clients receive the most advanced and reliable solar technology available.

Whether you’re a renewable energy enthusiast, or on the search for a viable option to capture the sun’s energy, it’s important you learn and understand the lingo associated with floating solar solutions. We put together the Ultimate Glossary of Floating Solar Terms to help you get a head start.

Aperture Ratio

The ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. For PV systems this is the PV arrays height over ground and length of surface with PV modules.


The accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, or small animals on the underside of float surfaces.


Hydrostatic force acting on a partially or fully submerged body, equal in magnitude to the volume of water displaced by the object.

Collinear Environment

Wind, waves and current acting from the same direction.

Energy Yield Assessment

Modeling of the average yearly expected energy production of an FPV system over the lifetime of the project. FPV energy yield has an expected increase in efficiency over ground mounted solar.

Environmental Actions

Any external phenomenon (eg. wind, waves, current) which may cause a load on a structure.


An individual floating assembly on a water body with a defined function.

Floating Structure

The collection of floats on a water body excluding electrical components that form part of a solar PV installation.

FPV Array

The ensemble of floats and components, part of a solar PV installation on a water body used for collecting, converting and transmitting energy and includes PV modules and supporting structure. A floating structure can include balance of system (inverter and transformer) but excludes station keeping.

FPV Project

The process entailing engineering, design, installation, commissioning, O&M and decommissioning of an FPV system.

FPV System

The ensemble of components as part of a solar PV installation on a water body used for collecting, converting and transmitting energy into a POC (e.g. grid or load), including PV modules, supporting structure, station keeping, balance of system up to the POC.


“Floatovoltaics” is a portmanteau of “float” and “photovoltaic.” They are floating structures that hold PV panels. They have many benefits over traditional solar arrays, including conserving valuable land space. Floatovoltaics are more efficient than ground-mounted solar arrays, and generally have fewer maintenance costs. They can also benefit the body of water they are built on by reducing algae growth and evaporation.

Fetch Length

The horizontal length over an ocean or a lake surface which wave-generating winds blows in an essentially constant direction.

Free Board

The distance between the waterline and surface of the float.

Grid Interconnection Point

The point where the FPV plant is connected with the electricity grid.

Mooring Lines

A mooring is a structure to which an object can be secured. A common example is when a ship is moored to restrict movement when not in use. This is also how floating solar structures are secured to ensure they stay in a fixed position in the water.

Multibody Float

Floating structure composed by multiple floats with internal interconnections between them.

Peak Period

The wave period determined by the inverse of the frequency at which a wave energy spectrum has its maximum value.

PV Module

Assembly of photovoltaic cells mounted in a framework for installation.


Pyranometers measure global irradiance, the amount of solar energy per unit area per unit time incident on a surface of specific orientation emanating from a hemispherical field of view.

Sea State

The wave conditions present for a certain duration, e.g. 3 hours, mainly defined by a characteristic.

The More You Know

The world of solar is constantly evolving, and as a leader in floating solar platforms, we know how important it is to keep up with new developments. Check out our favorite outlets for solar news below.

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