This past August, one of the worst floods in decades absolutely devastated Kerala, India and surrounding cities. More than $5 billion in damages were incurred, along with the death of over 480 individuals. Yet, despite such immense loss, a small sliver of hope shown through for India, in the floating panels that remained miraculously unscathed after the flood. Founded on one of the largest reservoirs in the country, floating solar in India is increasingly become more and more utilized in the area and elsewhere, particularly because of the resilience the panels offer during poor weather conditions. For India and other regions that experience inclement and unpredictably extreme weather, floating solar power is becoming more and more widely recognized for its benefits and efficiency.  

Growing Interest in Floating Solar Panels 

For the last couple of years, floating solar panels have increasingly gained popularity.  The benefits of floating solar panels over land-based, traditional solar panels are numerous and more and more countries are considering or actively implementing such technology as clean and renewable becomes more in demand worldwide. The decline in costs overall in the long-run has also contributed to increased interest and implementation of floating solar power.  

Even though floating solar power currently costs nearly 18 percent more compared to traditional solar utility, according to experts, these initial start-up costs are offset by lower costs elsewhere. For example, the excavation, remodeling and construction involved with some land solar power projects are avoided when floating solar panels are used instead. The floating solar panels also help offset initial startup costs in the long run by providing 5 percent more electricity once up and running. 

In India, in particular, interest in sustainable solar energy has increased thanks to continually decreasing costs of solar energy and concerns over the climate. Sustainability energy has been found in this region and others, thanks to floating solar panels.  

Shailesh K. Mishra, director for the Solar Energy Corporation of India, predicts that these floating solar panels are just the beginning for solar energy in India. There are already plans for solar energy to be implemented in the region over the coming years, and the exciting developments surrounding floating solar energy only add to the enthusiasm.  

Floating Solar Gaining More and More Popularity 

Worldwide, India, Europe, Japan, China, and even the United States are turning towards floating solar panels as the latest solution in renewable and solar energy utility. Floating solar power utility offers all of the same perks and benefits as traditional solar power, with the exception of taking up land space. Because space is often an issue when it comes to certain areas being able to erect solar panels, floating solar is a viable and appealing solution for many regions with available bodies of water nearby. 

Concerns over how this new technology might impact existing ecosystems and wildlife are being addressed, particularly when it comes to saltier bodies of water where the panels are more of a challenge to maintain. Due to wildlife and the conditions of the water itself, special care and attention are needed to make sure the floating panels work in harmony with the existing ecosystems. Researchers are confident that the benefits of these floating solar panels will continue to outweigh the benefits. Floating solar panels offer a viable solution for renewable energy for regions that may have adequate sea or ocean space, but lack the necessary land space needed for solar power. It is likely we will see the trend of implementing floating solar panels only increase as larger countries and economies take on this new technology. 

Among the countries currently implementing this latest technology, China currently takes the lead for the most floating solar generating capacity according to the World Bank, with more than 1.1 gigawatts of floating solar utility now installed in the area. 

Resources:

https://www.voanews.com/a/floating-solar-panels-buoy-access-to-clean-energy-in-asia/4647900.html 

https://www.powermag.com/floating-solar-panel-industry-makes-a-splash/ 

 

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