ETIP Photovoltaics

Roadmap 4

Floating PV

Europe has 20,000 square kilometres of manmade reservoirs, on which 200 GWp of PV could be economically installed if 10 % of that surface were used.

Rationale for support

Europe has 20,000 square kilometres of manmade res- ervoirs, on which 200 GWp of PV could be economically installed if 10 % of that surface were used. In addition to this, offshore PV could be explored in sheltered and even in exposed locations.

The main market driver for floating solar is the search for area in locations with a high population density. Other ad- vantages are: the cooling effect from the water, easy track- ing by rotation of a whole platform instead of individual or small numbers of modules, reduced evaporation, reduced algae growth, easy and fast installation. Floating solar on dams for hydropower or in conjunction with wind energy induce synergies on the integration into the energy system


Floating solar (FPV) is in rapid development, with globally close to 2GWp of installed capacity. Approximately 400 MWp has been installed in Europe, of which 100 MWp in The Netherlands alone. Most installations are deployed on man-made waterbodies such as irrigation dams, industrial basins, water treatment plants and unused mining pods. The major cost components of a floating solar installation are: floating platform 28-35 % and PV modules 35-40 % [Acharya – TERI]. Today, most floating solar installations are in locations of wave category 1. For locations with high- er waves some initial studies and pilots are underway.

Targets, Type of Activity and TRL

Floating solar on smooth water (TRL 8): activities needed on data collection on performance and O&M and on cost down driven design optimisation.
Floating solar on wave category 2 waters (TRL 6): activities needed to optimise the system designs for performance, lifetime and cost.
Floating solar on wave category 3 waters (TRL 4): activities needed to study the feasibility in demon- stration and pilot projects.
Floating solar on wave category 4 waters (offshore) (TRL 3): activities needed that model the different conceptual approaches including scale model test- ing.
Develop and verify predictive yield models includ- ing dynamic behavior of the PV including floats, temperature effects and wave induced mismatch losses, depending on the application environment (wave height class).
Develop and verify components with proven life- time and reliability for the various application en- vironments.
Develop design rules for systems with proven neu- tral or positive ecological impact.
Develop system designs for near-100 % circularity, including the floating platform.
Develop effective grid systems for floating solar in conjunction with wind energy and/or storage.


KPIs that can be utilised for capturing progress in the above identified R&I fields are:

KPITarget Value
System Design

Alignment with existing PV standards and develop new standards where needed. (2025)
Components (modules and electronics) with proven >20-year lifetime in floating solar applications, especially for application
in salty environment and under the impact of continuous movements (2027)

Optimised system designs (performance, lifetime, ecological impact and cost) for the subsequent wave categories (2030)

System designs with incorporated near-100 % circularity (2030)

ModelingPerformance models with high accuracy yield predictions that include the specific effects of cooling and system movements (2025)

Offshore floating solar installations for application in conjunction with an offshore wind farm, with optimised synergy on electrical
infrastructure, spatial planning and O&M (2027)

Bankability of floating solar at the level of standard solar parks, by a systematic build-up of data on performance and O&M (2030)