Session 2.3: Sustainable Water Use for Energy: Floating Solar Photovoltaics

May 22nd, 2019

Water-based energy generation systems such floating solar photovoltaics (PV) offer great opportunities for the clean energy transition in Asia. This session included deliberations on how to scale up floating solar PV technologies supported through favorable policies and delivered at competitive prices, while minimizing environmental and social impacts.

Moderator: Cindy Tiangco, Senior Energy Specialist, ADB


Floating Solar—What’s the Potential in South East Asia? Lessons Learned from the United States
Carishma Gokhale-Welch, Project Leader, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed the first national assessment of floating solar technical potential on artificial water bodies in the United States, estimating that 10% of the nation’s annual electricity production could be met with floating solar. This presentation showcased assessment results and highlight how this adaptable methodology could support similar assessments of floating solar potential in South East Asia and worldwide.

Where Sun Meets Water: Latest Global Development Trends Regarding Floating Solar, and Research Updates from the SERIS Floating PV Testbed in Singapore
Thomas Reindl, Deputy CEO, Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS)

In 2016, Singapore launched the world’s largest floating PV testbed, with a total capacity of 1 MWp. This presentation provided an update on the testbed, the current floating PV market and growth potential, cost comparison, and other issues encountered in the testbed and possible solutions for reliable operation.

Making Floating Solar Bankable
Harold Meurisse, Representative Director, Ciel & Terre

Most floating solar projects have been based on recourse financing, due to the lack of standards, and the absence of clear guidelines and good practices. This presentation focused on the impact of the bankability on floating solar economic feasibility, specially the levelized cost of electicity (LCOE). It will also described best practices, quality control and standards to implement in order to unlock such bankability.

Challenges and Opportunities for Floating Solar PV in Asia Pacific
Inaki Perez, Solar Practice Leader, Mott MacDonald

This presentation discussed the challenges and opportunities to improve the bankability of floating solar systems, based on experience in Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea and Taiwan. Topics included: technology, site conditions and natural hazards, technical complexity of designing, building, and operating on and in water, and environmental, social, health and safety considerations and standards for construction and operation.

Environmental Impacts of Floating Solar Panels on Water Bodies
Ian Jones, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, United Kingdom

Little attention has been paid to the impact that floating solar (aka "floatovoltaics") will have on the water body ecosystem. This presentation showed how the reductions in wind speed, solar radiation and water-air connectivity accompanying floatovoltaic deployment can affect lake physics, particularly water temperature and stratification. The results demonstrate the need to make judicious decisions on floatovoltaic deployment to ensure that environmental benefits are maximised and deleterious effects minimised.