From less than 3 GW installed at the end of 2019, Fitch Solutions forecasts floating solar PV capacity to increase by an additional 10 GW by 2025 thanks to over 11 GW in the pipeline globally. (Source: Fitch Solutions)
- Fitch Solutions sees new floating solar PV capacity of close to 10 GW coming online globally over the next 5 years
- Over 11 GW total floating solar capacity is currently being planned or under construction in the world
- It attributes the uptake of this expensive technology to increased investor interest thanks to the various benefits it offers
- China continues to maintain lead of Asia in this space, but the analysts see Vietnam, India, Brazil, the US, and France as other exciting markets in this space
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Between now and 2025, research and analytics firm Fitch Solutions expects the world to bring online close to 10 GW of new floating solar PV capacity. Its forecast is backed by the growing project pipeline and increased investor interest, the agency said. Till the end of 2019, its cumulative capacity across the world added up to less than 3 GW.
Currently, it counts 16 floating solar projects with over 11 GW of additional solar PV capacity in the world either in the planning stage or under construction. Asia claims 14 of these facilities with 2.1 GW Saemangeum Floating Solar Power Plant in South Korea leading the wave (see South Korea Announces 2.1 GW Floating Solar Project).
Hosting some of the biggest floating solar PV installations, China maintains its lead as the largest market for such systems to date. It also has the world’s current largest floating solar plant – the 320 MW capacity of Hangzhou Fengling Electricity Science Technology was completed in April 2020. Datang Power of China launched a floating solar tender with 820 MW capacity in June 2020.
Thailand is yet another name on this list after the country’s electricity generating authority EGAT announced more than 2.7 GW floating solar capacity for its hydropower reservoirs in March 2019 (see Thailand Plans World’s Largest Floating PV Capacity).
Vietnam, India, Brazil, the US and France are some of the other exciting markets to watch out for in this space, according to Fitch Solutions.
“That said, falling costs for floating solar projects in many of the world’s largest solar markets, a number of successful pilot projects proving the technology in several regions, and a growing understanding of the benefits of floating solar are leading to a growing interest in and use of the technology, with utility-scale floating solar installations set to take off globally over the next few years,” explain analysts at Fitch Solutions.
Even though floating solar technology is much more expensive than common utility scale ground mounted solar systems, Fitch Solutions points at the benefits of this technology that outweigh the cost concerns:
- A major driver for its uptake are its benefits for water reservoirs,
- it can be co-located with hydropower facilities,
- it does away with constraints related to land availability, and
- it has reduced lead times since it does not involve the process of cleaning the surface and leveling it.
A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US government, hydropower water bodies can be used to install 7.6 TW of solar power production capacity across the globe (see 7.6 TW Power From Floating PV On Hydropower Bodies).