Floating solar panels represent an economic market that is expected to reach more than 2300 billion USD$ by 2026. This figure is based on estimates from a market study published by P&S Intelligence.
Government efforts are expected to rapidly change the global market. Around the world, stringent environmental regulations are being put in place. This, together with tax rebates and other financial incentives, allows the development ofphotovoltaic energy.
The floating solar panel is of great interest to public and private players
Government incentives for the development of floating solar energy
The floating solar panel market benefits from stringent environmental regulations, tax rebates and other financial incentives put in place by governments. The latter are seeking to develop renewable energy markets. This is to reduce their dependence on conventional fossil fuels.
In this sense, many countries have already started to take initiatives to develop floating solar power plants. This is the case for Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, India and Brazil. Notably, in 2018, India had announced plans to create 10 GW of floating solar capacity.
Floating solar energy should then see its share of the world’s total energy mix increase in the years to come. According to the market analysis published on February 22 by P&S Intelligence, it is expected to reach $2301.8 billion in 2026. Versus $685.2 million in 2019.
Greater investment in R&D
The photovoltaic bifurcation has generated higher revenues in the market so far, under segmentation by technology. This is attributed to the proven ability of this technique to create substantial amounts of clean energy.
In addition, concentratedsolar power (CSP) technology for electricity generation is not yet fully developed. This translates into greater deployment of PV technology for this purpose.
So lately, the floating solar panel industry players have been investing more in R&D. These companies have also used their customers’ earnings to strengthen their market presence. Among the main players are: Ciel Et Terre International, JA Solar Technology, Kyocera Corporation, Sungrow Power Supply, …
Notably, in February 2020, Sembcorp Solar Singapore won a major contract. It will develop a 60 MW floating solar power plant on the Tengeh reservoir in Singapore. The project is expected to be completed by 2022, under the supervision of the DNV GL technical advisor.
Floating solar energy as an economical and spatial alternative
Countering the space requirements of onshore solar
Solar energy is one of the best alternatives to electricity production from fossil fuels. However, the need for large areas to install photovoltaic (PV) panels can be discouraging. Floating solar panels are therefore an economically advantageous alternative.
Photovoltaic power plants are installed on bodies of water: lakes, ponds, dam reservoirs and seas. And that leaves the land free for other purposes, such as agriculture or construction. Their development therefore eliminates the need to acquire land.
In addition to eliminating the costs associated with land acquisition, floating solar panels feature a low rental price.
Asia-Pacific leads the market
Due to their high population density, available land in most Asian countries is scarce. The deployment of floating panels is therefore part of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) plans.
The region was already in 2019, the best market for floating solar. And P&S Intelligence expects the region to show robust growth by 2026.
APAC has many government initiatives to promote the use of solar panels. Vietnam, for example, has a 475 MW project and South Korea has a 2.1 GW project.
For all these reasons, P&S Intelligence expects the floating solar panel market to grow rapidly in APAC.
Onshore, more profitable than offshore
But in the coming years, the location-based onshore bifurcation will dominate the floating solar panel market. Indeed, strong water currents and high tides in deep water often damage the solar panels and their structure. Lakes, ponds and dam reservoirs have lower tides and weaker currents.
In addition, the maintenance of floating solar panels at sea is difficult and expensive. This is why coastal water bodies are to be preferred for the installation of photovoltaic panels. Their development will drive the growth of the global market at a significant rate.