The term “floatovoltaics” is not one that most people are familiar with – yet. However, a growing interest in solar panels installed on water – floating – should propel the term into everyday vernacular.
It begin in California; the year was 2008. The world’s first floating solar farm was installed at an irrigation pond at a winery. Rather than dedicate a portion of productive land, the winery chose to locate the solar panels on a pond.
This method to save land space has been dubbed “floatovoltaics,” a shortened combination of “floating” and “photovoltaics.”
The idea is rapidly growing in popularity.
Rather than clear forestland, or eliminate a portion of farming on fertile farmland, the installation of a solar panel system on a body of water reduces the amount of land needed that’s dedicated to ground mounting.
“Floatovoltaics are one of the fastest-growing power generation technologies today and a promising low-carbon energy source,” said aquatic ecosystem ecologist Rafael Almeida, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Almeida explained that ideally, floating panels are placed in human-made bodies of water, such as irrigation channels and the reservoirs of hydropower plants, not taking up land that could otherwise be used for nature preserves or food production. Reservoirs at hydropower plants, especially, have the advantage of already having the infrastructure to distribute electricity.
Almeida and his colleagues calculated the potential of countries worldwide to use floatovoltaics on the basis of the area of their hydropower reservoirs. They found that countries in Africa and the Americas have the highest potential of generating energy through the technology. Brazil and Canada, for example, could become leaders in the sector because they require only about 5% reservoir coverage to meet all their solar energy demands until midcentury.”https://eos.org/articles/could-floating-solar-panels-help-mitigate-climate-change
You can read the full article by going to floating solar panels.