The Development History of Floating Photovoltaic Systems

The Development History of Floating Photovoltaic Systems

Since the concept of a "two-carbon goal" to build a new power system based on new energy was made, the development of new energy represented by photovoltaic has become an important content of the 14th Five-Year Plan and even the outline of the 2035 vision goal. As the number of onshore PV installations continues to grow, land resources and related policy constraints are becoming the key factors restricting the scale development of PV. Therefore, people began to turn their eyes to the wider water space. Another branch of photovoltaic-floating photovoltaic systems began to enter the field of vision.

The development history of the floating photovoltaic system

Floating photovoltaics (FPV) simply means that the photovoltaic module is moved to the surface of the floating body. Its system setup is somewhat similar to the ground installation, but the difference is that all photovoltaic modules, inverters and other power plant facilities are fixed on the floating mounting systems through the anchoring system. This new type of power station does not need to grab valuable land with residents. Actually, it turns to the water and forms complementary advantages with the road surface to achieve multiple win-win results.

At present, our country has become the world's largest country in floating photovoltaic power station construction. Aquatic photovoltaic technology has achieved market scale and has been applied in various scenarios such as lakes and reservoirs. It has been recognized by the industry in terms of power generation, safety and other aspects. However, due to the limited area of inland developable waters, water resources will gradually become scarce with the development. The floating photovoltaic system has become a new battlefield of new energy development.
The development status at home and abroad of FPV systems

Offshore photovoltaic has become a widely recognized application form worldwide. According to statistics, the global offshore photovoltaic potential capacity is about 4,000 GW. The coastline of China is long, and the theoretical installation capacity of offshore photovoltaics exceeds 70GW.

1. Current situation of foreign development

Singapore solar energy company Sunseap has completed one of the world's largest floating photovoltaic systems in the Johor Strait. The floating photovoltaic system has more than 30,000 floating modules to support 13,312 solar panels and 40 inverters. The system is expected to produce about 6.02 million kWh of electricity a year. It is about equal to the annual electricity consumption of 1,380 four-room HDB flats. It reduces carbon emissions by 4,258 tonnes.

Ocean Sun signed an agreement with South Korean energy company EN Technologies to develop a pilot project for a 2.1GW floating solar site planned near the Saemangeum tidal flat on the Yellow Sea coast. Ocean Sun said the agreement includes a technology license for the demonstration system and a follow-on plan to achieve at least 100 megawatts of electricity within 18 months. The deal could add another 400 megawatts within five years.

2. Domestic development status

(1) Market status 

China's mainland coastline is 18,000 kilometers. According to the theoretical study, the area of sea where offshore PV can be installed is about 710,000 square kilometers. On a scale of 1/1000, more than 70GW can be installed offshore.

By the end of May 2022, a total of 28 offshore photovoltaic projects have been authorized, covering a total area of 1,658,300 square meters. Project distribution: 18 in Jiangsu, 4 in Shandong, 3 in Zhejiang, 2 in Liaoning and 1 in Guangdong. Among them, Zhejiang Province confirmed the largest area of 7,708,900 square meters.

(2) Policy status 

With the increase in installed demand for new energy and the proposed dual-carbon target, China's coastal provinces have actively responded to the national goal of realizing "dual-carbon". In recent years, various parties have successively issued various policy opinions to support the development of offshore photovoltaics. 

In May 2022, Qingdao Municipal People's Government issued Policies and Measures to Stimulate Market Vitality and Stabilize Economic Growth in Qingdao. The provincial finance will provide financial subsidies of 1000 yuan, 800 yuan, 600 yuan and 400 yuan per kilowatt for the "14th Five-Year Plan" floating offshore photovoltaic projects connected to the grid from 2022 to 2025. The subsidy scale shall not exceed 100,000KW, 200,000KW, 300,000KW and 400,000KW respectively. Offshore photovoltaics will be included in key provincial projects. The issue of using sea land will be solved comprehensively.

On April 1, 2022, Shandong Provincial Government Information Office announced at a press conference that it would actively promote the offshore photovoltaic pilot demonstration. Grant subsidies to the grid-connected offshore photovoltaic projects completed between 2022 and 2025 according to the tiered standard. Offshore photovoltaics will be included in key provincial projects. The issue of using sea land will be solved comprehensively. 

In April 2022, the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Natural Resources issued a Notice, which clearly included the photovoltaic sea into the scope of application of three-dimensional stratified establishment of the right. It requires offshore photovoltaic projects to propose ecological construction plans and defines the implementation subjects. It takes necessary ecological restoration measures, and effectively improves marine ecological functions.

On December 27, 2021, the National Development and Reform Commission issued the Development Plan of Jiangsu Coastal Areas (2021-2025), which clearly strengthened the safe, efficient and green energy supply. We will promote pilot and demonstration projects for far-reaching offshore wind power generation. The development of an offshore "energy island" that integrates diverse energy resources and supports the exploration of integrated development of offshore wind power, photovoltaic power generation and marine ranching.