Floating PVs in Terms of Power Generation, Environmental Aspects, Market Potential, and Challenges
- Simplicity and reliability
- Low costs
- Availability worldwide
- Limited environmental impacts
2. Solar PV Systems
2.1. Conventional Land-Based Solar PV Applications
2.2. Roof Top PV Applications
2.3. Canal Top PV Applications
2.4. Offshore Solar PV Applications
2.5. Floating PV Applications
2.5.1. The Increase in Land Saving
2.5.2. The Improvement in Energy Generation
2.5.3. The Assembly and Dismantling of the System
2.5.4. Water Saving
3. The Contributions
3.1. Enhanced Energy Generation
3.2. Reduction in Evaporation Rates
4. Applications of FPV Systems
4.1. Hydropower Plants
4.2. Water Treatment
4.3. Irrigation Reservoir
4.4. Mining Water Basins
5. Comparison of FPVs and LBPVs
|||02/2012 01/2013||FPV, 33° LBPV, 30°||100 kW at Hapcheon||1 MW at Haman||421 kWh/day||3486 kwh/day||CF was determined to be 17.6% and 15.5 for FPV and LBPV, respectively. The efficiency of FPV is 13.5% more than LBPV|
|10/2012 03/2013||FPV, 33° LBPV, 30°||500 kW at Hapcheon||1 MW at Haman||2044 kWh/day||3491 kWh/day||17.1% and 15.5% of the CF belongs to FPV and LBPV, respectively. The efficiency of FPV is higher than LBPV, by about 10.3%.|
|||01/2012 07/2012||FPV, 11° LBPV, 11°||2.4 kW at Juam Dam||2.4 kW at Juam Dam||___||___||The avg. CF for FPV and LBPV is 14% and 13%, respectively.|
|___||0.93 kW at Buksin Bay||20 kW at Buksin Bay||1.8 kWh/day||32.88 kWh/day||The avg. CF is evaluated to be 16% and 13.7% for FPV and LBPV, respectively. The ratio of CF is equal to 1.16|
|||June 2016||___||0.25 kW at Manit||0.25 kW at Manit||___||___||The CF for FPV and LBPV is found to be 12.42% and 11.63%, respectively. FPV-efficiency is higher than LBPV, up to 6.8%.|
|||01/2016 12/2016||___||1 MW at Jodypur||1 MW at Jodypur||1715.57 MWh/year||1673.98 MWh/year||The CF is found to be 19.58% and 19.11% for FPV and LBPV. The efficiency ofFPV is 2.45% more than LBPV.|
6. FPV Market and Potential
7. Environmental Impacts
- The occurrence of water layers depending on the change in temperature
- Changes in oxygen levels of the water affect aquatic habitats due to not meeting the oxygen demands
- Prevention of wind effects on the dynamic systems existing on water surfaces (providing heat transfer of the whole reservoir)
- Reduction in the growth rates of marine life
- Changes in water odor and taste and the increase in possible health problems based on the metals at the bottom of the reservoir
9. Concluding Remarks
- Floating PVs are installed on water bodies. Owing to the direct and passive cooling effects, they keep cool in operation which yields to greater power generations compared with conventional land-based PV systems.
- Floating PV power plants have a great potential to bring down energy production expenses and to provide remarkable savings on land prices especially in island counties such as the U.K., Japan, Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea. In the aforesaid countries, valuable lands are primarily preferred for different purposes such as agriculture and livestock. Installing PV systems on water bodies such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs also narrows the gap between conventional and solar power systems.
- Floating PV power plants perform more than 10% compared with conventional land-based PV systems. In addition, they mitigate water evaporation from water bodies by about 70%. However, it needs to be noted that the investment cost of floating PV systems is slightly higher than conventional PV systems. Figures are expected to change from plant to plant since they are dependent on many environmental and operational parameters such as solar intensity, ambient temperature, wind velocity, water mass, dirt and dust level, and tilt angle of PV modules, etc.
- The floating power station installed in Anhui, China, which is known as the world’s largest FPV-power capacity is reported to have a payback period of fewer than 7 years. The said plant is expected to save nearly 199,500 tons of carbon emissions annually. The energy demand of 94,000 dwellings located in urban and rural areas would be met by the electricity produced by this station.
- The influence of salt water on PV modules and the module performance are of vital importance which needs to be investigated. The degradations of floating PV systems are reported to increase depending on temperature and humidity such as corrosion, ribbon fatigue, and back sheet hydrolysis.
- Optimizing tilt angle for the PV modules in floating systems plays a notable role in annual electricity generation and system efficiency. Alternatively, floating PV systems can be operated with solar tracking units for better power generation performance.
- Offshore floating PV systems are expected to be economically feasible in the near future as a consequence of remarkable advancements in large-scale solar farms on water bodies.
- Algae growth is limited in floating PV power plants because of mitigated solar radiation, which yields to better water quality.
- Thin film PV cells have long, narrow, and rectangular cells connected in series. In addition to allowing two-dimensional current flow due to the internal structure of the cells connected in series, they are at lower temperature values in operating conditions . For this reason, rather than conventional crystalline silicon PV cell technologies, thin film PV cells can be preferred to be utilized in floating PV systems which are more capable of withstanding harsh water environments.
- Geographic information systems and remote sensing techniques which are the technique of detecting and monitoring physical characteristics by measuring the radiation emitted or reflected from an area from a controlled distance, can be considered for feasibility analyses of floating PV power plant projects.
- Prior to projecting floating PV power plants at any location, temperature and solar radiation data, maximum wind speed, snow load, water current, cyclone, and typhoon risks need to be analyzed.
- Anchoring cables require periodic inspection and maintenance in floating PV power plants.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Investment||Slightly higher costs on average due to floats, anchoring, mooring, and plant design|
Cost of floats may drop as the scale of deployment increases
Higher perceived risk due to a lower level of maturity
|Huge installed capacity and hence very established investment and financing sector|
Costs continue to drop
|Operation and Maintenance||Harder to access and replace parts|
Animal visits and bird droppings
Harder to maintain anchoring
Easy access to water for cleaning
Lower risk of theft/vandalism
|Easy to access|
More affected by vegetation growth
Easier to deploy cleaning routines
|Durability||Normally 5 to 10 years of warranty on floats||Key system components durable for >20 years|
|Safety||Close to water, tend to have lower insulation resistance to ground|
Constant movement poses a challenge for equipment grounding
Risk of personnel falling into water
|Regulation and Permits||More difficult for natural lakes and easier for artificial ponds|
Lack of specific regulations
|More established permitting process|
|Experience/Level of Maturity||Cumulative capacity as of the end of 2018: >1.3 GW|
Four years of experience with large-scale projects
|Cumulative capacity as of end of 2018: >500 GW|
Thousands of projects built
A range of 10–30 years of experience
|Environmental||Potential to reduce algae growth|
Potential to reduce water evaporation
Potential impact on aquatic ecosystem
|Some adverse impacts during construction|
Potential habitat loss or fragmentation
|Covered Area of Man Sagar Lake (139 ha)||Energy Generation (MWh/Year)||Installed Capacity |
|Evaporation without FPV (ML/Year)||Water Saving Due to FPV (ML/Year)|
|Location||Surface Area |
|Installed Power (kW)||Energy Generation (MWh/Year)||Water Saving|
|FWR, km2||MMR, km2||HPPs, km2|
|Asia South East||153,490||32,231||22,929|
|Asia South Without India||48,320||1238||1081|
|Australia and New Zeeland||58,920||4695||1216|
|Factor||High Preference||Low Preference|
|Location||Near load centers and populated regions|
Easily accessible by road
Close to manufacturing facilities or ports for simplified logistics
|Remote places with high transportation cost|
|Weather and climate||High solar irradiation|
Little wind or storms
Dry region where water conservation
|Cold regions with freezing water|
High winds and risk of natural disasters
Drought events that lead to exposure of water bed
|Water body features||Regular shape|
Wide opening toward south or north depending on hemisphere
|Narrow strip between mountains|
Presence of islands
|Type of water body||Human-made reservoirs|
Industrial water bodies
Tourist or recreational sites
|Underwater terrain and soil conditions||Shallow depth|
Hard ground for anchoring
Water bottom clear of any cables, pipelines, or other obstructions
|Soft mud ground for anchoring|
|Water conditions||Freshwater with low hardness and salinity||Salty water|
Water prone to biofouling
|Other site conditions||Existing electrical infrastructure|
Easy water access
Sufficient land area for deploying electrical equipment
Self-consumption loads, such as wastewater treatment and irrigation pump facilities
|No existing electric infrastructures|
Extensive horizon shading from nearby mountains
Nearby pollution sources (chimneys, burning crops, and quarries)
|Ecology||Simple and robust ecology||Natural habitat of protected species|
Frequent bird activity
Water species that are sensitive to water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and sunlight
|Continent||Total Surface Area|
|Number of Water Reservoirs||Total FPV Capacity (GW) (the Coverage Rate of the Water Surface Area with FPV)||Total Potential Energy Generation (GWh/Year) (the Coverage Rate of the Water Surface Area with FPV)|
|Power Capacity (MW)||Water Basins and Location||Country||Grid-Connection Year||Deployed by||Description||Ref.|
|150||Coal mining subsidence area, Huainan||China||2018||Three Gorges New Energy||Installation cost of $ 23.8 million|||
|150||Coal mining subsidence area, Huainan||China||2018||Sungrow||220 GW/year of energy generation|||
|130||Coal mining subsidence area, Anhui||China||2018||Trinasolar||3.04 billion kWh over 25 years|||
|102||Coal mining subsidence area, Huainan||China||2017||Sungrow||_____|||
|100||Coal mining subsidence area, Jinxing||China||2018||Sungrow||____|||
|70||Mine lake, Anhui||China||2018||Ciel and Terre||194,731 floating solar panels|||
|50||Coal mining subsidence area, Jinxing||China||2017||Sungrow||___|||
|40||Coal mine, Huaibei||China||2017||Trinasolar||15 km2 of water surfaces|||
|40||Coal mining subsidence area, Huainan||China||2017||Sungrow||___|||
|32.6||Mine lake||China||2018||Cile and Terre||Covering 20% of water surface|||
|31||Coal mining subsidence area, Jinxing||China||2017||Sungrow||___|||
|27.4||Bomhofsplas, Zwolle||Netherlands||2020||Baywa||Meeting the consumption of 7800 dwellings|||
|20||Coal mining subsidence area, Huainan||China||2016||___||___|||
|18.7||Gunsan Retarding Basin||Korea||2018||Scotra||Meeting the energy demand of 7450 houses|||
|17||Piolec||France||2019||Akuo Energy||Meeting energy demands of 4773 dwellings|||
|14.5||Sekdoorn, Zwolle||Netherlands||2019||Baywa||6465 tones of carbon saving annually|||
|13.7||Yamakura Dam reservoir||Japan||2018||Ciel and Terre||Installed on 18 ha of water surface|||
|Water storage reservoir, Agongdian|
Irrigation reservoir, Pei County
|Taiwan||2018||Ciel and Terre||Covering 92,000 m2|||
|China||2017||Ciel and Terre||Covering 29% of the water basin|||
|8.4||Tynaarlo, Drenthe||Netherlands||2019||Baywa||7669 MWh/year energy production|||
|7.5||Irrigation, Saitama||Japan||2015||Ciel and Terre||Covering 57% of water surface|||
|6.7||Mine Lake, Shandong||China||2018||Ciel and Terre||Covering 9.5% of water surface|||
|6.3||Drinking water reservoir, London||U.K.||2016||Ciel and|
|Covering 5% of water surface|||
|Ref.||Research||Covering Area (m2)||Water Basin||Carbon Saving|
|||Experimental||4490||Irrigation water reservoir||1454.19 tons of CO2 saving over the lifetime of FPV|
|||Simulation||87,650||Open-pit limestone mine||471.21 tons of CO2/year|
|||Simulation||---||1134 water reservoirs in Korea||1,294,450 tons of CO2/year|
|||Simulation||10,000 each of them||Lake and barrage||1773 and 1714 tons of CO2/year|
|||Simulation||50||Lake||14.44 tons of CO2/year|
|||Power plants||---||Water reservoir||Nearly 85 tons of CO2/year|
|Installation and decommissioning|
(short and long-term effects)
|Short-term air pollution from project construction equipment|
Noise, affecting people and wildlife, from project construction equipment
Turbidity from installation and dismantling of mooring and anchoring systems
Potential release of oil and lubricant spills related to project construction equipment
Loss of habitat and marine species
The increase in waste during construction and delivery of the equipment
|Operation and Maintenance|
|The failure in water quality:|
Decreased dissolved oxygen
Loss of benthic habitat
Impact on primary production
Loss of avian wildlife
Loss of marine species
Loss of aesthetic value
|CAPEX Component||FPV 50 MW ($/W)||LBPV 50 MW ($/W)|
|Balance of the systems||0.13||0.08|
|Design and construction||0.14||0.13|
|Environmental Stress||Failure Mode||Mitigation Strategies|
Back sheet: glass, aluminized PID-resistant cells
System-level PID compensation
|Mechanical stress||Interconnect fatigue|
|Increase module stiffness|
Cells and string on the neutral axis
Lower modulus encapsulants
|Less cells per bypass diode|
Higher RTI materials
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Cuce, E.; Cuce, P.M.; Saboor, S.; Ghosh, A.; Sheikhnejad, Y. Floating PVs in Terms of Power Generation, Environmental Aspects, Market Potential, and Challenges. Sustainability 2022, 14, 2626. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052626
Cuce E, Cuce PM, Saboor S, Ghosh A, Sheikhnejad Y. Floating PVs in Terms of Power Generation, Environmental Aspects, Market Potential, and Challenges. Sustainability. 2022; 14(5):2626. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052626Chicago/Turabian Style
Cuce, Erdem, Pinar Mert Cuce, Shaik Saboor, Aritra Ghosh, and Yahya Sheikhnejad. 2022. "Floating PVs in Terms of Power Generation, Environmental Aspects, Market Potential, and Challenges" Sustainability 14, no. 5: 2626. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052626