Floating solar projects

Floating solar projects

August 08, 2019 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Floating solar projects may not command the same market share ultimately as offshore wind, but they are starting to get traction. The immediate appeal is in countries where land is scarce.

The South Korean government approved construction of a 2,100-megawatt floating project in late July that will sit behind the Seamangeum seawall off the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula. The seawall is a 21-mile dyke that was built to recover land from the sea for use in farming. A freshwater reservoir sits immediately behind the seawall.

The project is expected to cost $3.9 billion and require 5.25 million solar panels. Construction is expected to start in late 2020.

Other floating solar projects are in the works.

A Dutch consortium is planning a project off the coast near The Hague. A Belgian consortium is looking at the North Sea for a “high-wave” project. Dubai put out a tender in June for consultants who can work on a floating project. A five-megawatt floating solar project is under construction in Singapore.

There are currently 1,100 megawatts of floating projects on inland water. Output for projects at sea could be 5% to 15% higher than similar projects on land.