A new report from the World Bank published last week has revealed that there is currently 1.1 gigawatt (GW) worth of floating solar around the globe and that the market could potentially support up to 400 GW worth of total capacity.
According to the new report published by the World Bank, Where Sun Meets Water, floating solar is “particularly promising” for the fast-growing economies of Asia, and interest has been high in places like China, India, and Southeast Asia.
According to the report, “capacity for floating solar is growing exponentially” — a fact borne out by the figures; specifically, at the end of 2014, total global floating solar capacity had only reached 10 megawatts (MW), but as of September 2018, that figure had increased more than 100-fold to 1.1 GW.
Current capacity is not the only bright spot from the floating solar sector, according to the report, which estimates that the sector could potentially support 400 GW worth of total capacity.
More specifically, this is referring to conservative estimates of floating solar’s global potential when installed on man-made water surfaces — although, such reservoirs total more than 400,000 square kilometers, so the high-end of potential enters the terawatt scale.
“Floating solar passing the 1 GW milestone is very impressive, considering it came from just 10 MW in 2014,” explained Kristina Thoring, the Communications Director at SolarPower Europe. “It is now a proven market sector and we expect to see many more floating solar projects in Europe and the world in the coming years.”
In addition to providing renewable energy generation, floating solar has the added benefit of working well with other projects — be they hydropower projects or agricultural systems. The report also outlines the regional potential, which is primarily led by North America, followed by the Middle East & Asia, and Africa.