Floating Solar Prospects In Southeast Asia

NREL Pegs 825 GW Technical Potential For Floating PV Across ASEAN Nations In USAID Funded Report

Floating Solar Prospects In Southeast Asia

The NREL report on floating PV potential in Southeast Asia sees the technology playing a significant role in the region’s renewable energy build out. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

  • NREL counts the floating solar PV technical potential for 10 ASEAN nations as adding up to 825 GW
  • It sees this potential for 88 reservoirs and 7,213 natural water bodies studied in a report for ASEAN
  • Analysts arrived at this potential capacity by assuming use of monofacial fixed tilt panels
  • With high efficiency bifacial solar panels, the potential can go up further, they add
  • Floating solar PV can help the region strengthen energy security, undertake renewable energy deployment and also support food security

In a new analysis for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates a technical potential of 825 GW floating PV (FPV) capacity across 10 Southeast Asian nations, and claims this technology has the potential to increase the region’s energy security.

It estimates this potential with the use of fixed tilt monofacial panels, however, if using high efficiency bifacial solar modules, the average net capacity factor is assumed to increase by a factor of 1.05.

For the analysis, NREL studied 88 reservoirs and 7,213 natural water bodies in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. NREL researchers found the FPV technical potential to range from 134 GW to 278 GW on reservoirs and between 343 GW to 768 GW on natural waterbodies.

Reservoirs in Laos and Malaysia offer a higher potential while natural water bodies in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand score over others. In Vietnam, the NREL report finds the technical potential is roughly equivalent across all water body types.

Analysts see FPV as complementary to hydropower energy resources, helping fill in the gap during periods of drought and water scarcity, thereby firming up energy generation, something which is not specific to Southeast Asia alone. However, since most of the region is covered by rainforest ecosystems, NREL geospatial Data Scientist Evan Rosenlieb says siting PV on water can enable it to increase renewable energy generation without deforestation.

Another benefit FPV brings to the region, according to the analysts, is contributing to food security by supporting aquaculture through AquaPV. It can allow countries to co-locate energy production and food production on existing water bodies thus minimizing the overall environmental impact of both sectors, added NREL Energy Engineer and Lead Author of the report, Prateek Joshi.

ASEAN nations have a combined target to achieve 35% share of renewable energy in their total installed power capacity by 2025. According to NREL, as per their current targets the region is expected to reach 235 GW renewables by 2030 including 81 GW utility scale solar. By 2050, the share is likely to grow to 1.311 TW comprising 841 GW utility scale PV. Thus, analysts believe FPV can play an important role in the region’s renewable energy build out.

The report, adds NREL, can help decision makers, energy system modelers and developers interested in building FPV in the Southeast Asia region. It states that the methodology for calculating FPV technical potential for this report might also be applicable for countries in other regions, with adaptations.

The entire report titled Enabling Floating Solar Photovoltaic Deployment: FPV Technical Potential Assessment for Southeast Asia is available on NREL’s website for free download. The report work is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).   

Earlier in May 2025, Wood Mackenzie pegged the global cumulative FPV market to exceed 6 GW threshold by 2031 (see Growth For Floating Solar With Growing PV Demand).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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