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Pros and Cons of Floating Solar Panels and their Impact on the Global Market

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Published on : Feb 01, 2016

Recently, it was announced that the construction of the largest floating solar plant in Europe had started. This plant will be constructed on top of the Godley Reservoir in the United Kingdom. Currently, the international firm from Japan, Kyocera is working on the largest floating solar power plant. The company announced that it will be building a solar power plant of capacity 7.5 MW atop the Umenokifurukori reservoir. Brazil too had announced in 2015, a phenomenal 350 MW pilot project for its Balbina hydroelectric plant and Australia witnessed the installation of a 4MW PV system on top of a wastewater treatment facility in South Australia. The U.S. and India too are planning to construct such floating solar plants in the near future.

This shows that increasingly countries around the world are realizing the potential of floating solar panels and investing significantly in projects to build these solar floating plants. Although there are several advantages of these panels that are driving the global floating solar panels market, there are certain disadvantages too.

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Advantages of Floating Solar Plants

  • With floating solar panels, the reservoir owner can benefit significantly from the rent and business tax earned due to these panels
  • In addition to this, it allows the operators of the floating solar plant to rent the reservoir cheaply and without any reclamation cost
  • These panels are low on maintenance, which helps to manage their cost in the long run
  • Furthermore, these panels can be moved easily depending on the sun’s position
  • Another benefit of these panels is that they help save water by decreasing the amount of water evaporation
  • The cooling effect created by these panels also help to maintain the temperature of the silicon panels
  • These plants also inhibit algae growth in the water, leading to easier maintenance of the reservoir

Disadvantages of Floating Solar Plants

  • The key disadvantage of the floating solar panels is the large cost of installation
  • Moreover, securing profitability at the same time is also challenging
  • Another con associated with these panels is that they cannot be installed in the sea as the waves prevent their angular position and the wind speed impacts the amount of electricity generation

Although there are many disadvantages of these panels, the market for the global floating solar panels is projected to demonstrate a significant growth due to the several advantages associated with it.