Floating solar is a new renewable energy option, however, but it has huge potential. Globally, the use of floating solar panels is on the rise. The market for floating solar technology is projected to expand by 43% a year over the next decade.
One of the most recent developments in the revolutionary growth of solar PV electricity in recent years is the development of floating solar technology. From 72GW in 2011 to 843GW in 2021, the capacity of solar PV systems has almost doubled globally in the last ten years. Up from 0.03% in 2006, technology now contributes 3.6% of the world’s electricity production. Solar power systems have also seen an astounding price decline, making them the cheapest source of energy in the entire world.
Besides, Researchers are constantly looking for ways to advance solar technology in conjunction with this expansion. The majority of solar panels that have been installed so far in the world are located on land. But, floating solar systems have a special advantage over land-based ones: they free up area for other purposes.
This offers floating solar a big advantage in a world that wants to quickly expand solar arrays, especially for nations with limited land. Traditional solar farms are sometimes accused of taking up too much land, which could otherwise be utilized to plant carbon-absorbing trees or crops to feed the world’s expanding population.
However, less than 1% of solar installations worldwide as of right now are floating. This is partially due to technical and budgetary limitations since mounting panels at an angle on a floating platform is difficult and expensive and because saltwater causes corrosion. Installations near freshwater bodies of water can potentially encounter criticism if they conflict with other pursuits like boating, fishing, or swimming.
Solar panels use the Sun’s light, not its heat, to produce power. However, they lose effectiveness when they get too heated. This is because heat excites the electrons in the solar panel, converting solar energy into electricity. This reduces the distance between the high energy and rest states, lowering the voltage and reducing the amount of electricity produced. Although solar PV panels can become as hot as 65C (149F), which reduces efficiency, they normally work at their best between 15C and 35C (59F and 95F).
Instead, According to Nuno Correia, director of composite materials at the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in Porto and creator of the Proteus project, floating solar panels operate more effectively and produce up to 15% more electricity due to their proximity to water.
SolarisFloat claims that its technology offers a “win-win solution” as the need for renewable energy increases and climate impacts like floods worsen. The major obstacles that are delaying the global spread of installations are the expensive cost of materials, like steel and plastic, required to make the panels, and the difficult installation process.
Even yet, it appears that floating solar generally has a promising future, with the global market set to expand by a fifth over the next eight years.