Floating Solar Combating Global Warming

In 2014, the World Bank published the “4 Degree Report[1]”, which forecasted an increase drought severity in Southern Africa, the United States, Southern Europe, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, due to increasing evapotranspiration from global warming and decreasing rainfall.

As forecast, these regions have experienced a decrease in annual rainfall and protracted droughts. Countries in many of these region are heavily dependent on hydropower, which has been severely impacted by the decrease in annual rainfall.

Countries around the world are now using “floating solar” to offset the shortfall of power during droughts and provide power during periods of peak demand. Floating solar or floating photovoltaic is a solar array that floats on a body of water, like a pond or reservoir.

The advantages of floating solar systems include[2]

  • Water Conservation – Reduces evaporation of the water reservoirs, which improves hydropower performance.
  • Marine Environment – Reduces the risk of algae bloom, which can negatively impact the marine life in the reservoirs.
  • Water Temperatures Provides a natural cooling of the water, which is important to the marine life during warmer weather.
  • Solar Array Performance – Norwegian researchers[3] have shown that the water reservoir provides a cooling effect on the solar array, which improves yield by 5% to 6%.

Floating solar systems are being used around the world including –

  • People’s Republic of China, Jining City – 100 MW
  • People’s Republic of China, Huainan City – 40 MW
  • Republic of Korea, Hapcheon Hydropower Project – 40 MW
  • Brazil, Batalha Hydropower Project – 30 MW
  • Republic of Korea, Jeonnam Water Reservoir – 25 MW
  • Japan, Yamakura Hydropower Project 7 MW
  • People’s Republic of China, Jiangsu – 9.98 MW
  • Japan, Irrigation Reservoir in Saitama Prefect – 755 MW
  • United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir – 6.3 MW
  • United States, Water Treatment Facility in New Jersey – 4 MW

Floating solar projects around the world are providing, clean green power stability for countries around the world. In North America, states and provinces with significant hydropower facilities should critically evaluate the significant potential of floating solar arrays.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] The World Bank, “Climate and Disaster Resilience” by M. Arnold, R. Mearns, K. Oshima, and V. Prasad, 2014

[2] Solar Power World, “Floating Solar + Hydropower Hybrid Projects Can Benefit Both Technologies,” May 28, 2020

[3] PV Magazine, “ Cooling Effect of Water for Floating PV Arrays” by Emiliano Bellini, November 4, 2020

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