With the wave of green transformation sweeping the world, the floating PV system
has been paid more and more attention. Many countries clearly encourage the development of floating PV power stations. Total investment in the global floating PV market is expected to increase more than triple in the next five years.
Compared with ground photovoltaic power stations, floating photovoltaic power stations do not require more land resources and have been regarded as clean energy with higher acceptance by the public. According to the latest report by Prescient&StrategicIntelligence (" P&S "), as the wave of green transformation is sweeping the world, floating photovoltaic (PV) is receiving increasing attention, and many governments have made clear relevant policies to encourage the development of floating PV power stations. Total investment in the global floating PV market is expected to increase more than triple in the next five years.
However, some industry insiders pointed out that due to the sudden impact of COVID-19, the development pace of the floating PV industry has been disrupted, and there is still a long way to go before it can achieve explosive growth.
Most projects are late to connect to the grid.
SPE estimates that global PV installations will be around 112GW in 2020, down 4% than that in 2019. The development of the floating PV market has also been affected by the overall decline of new installed capacity in the large PV market.
P&S’ report shows that the global pandemic of COVID-19 curtailed the growth of new FPPV installations in 2020. In the first half of this year, affected by quarantine measures such as lockdown of cities in many countries, most PV module manufacturers reduced production capacity or shut down production lines, resulting in a serious shortage of products required for the construction of floating PV projects. Most of the floating PV projects are scheduled to be connected to the grid by the end of 2020. Now they are far behind schedule.
P&S believes the temporary "shutdown" of the main PV manufacturing process affected the entire supply chain. Although the PV market recovered rapidly in the second half of 2020, it was mainly ground PV power stations and household rooftop PV projects that resumed installation on a large scale. As an emerging industry still in the development stage, the floating PV system was more affected.
P&S expects FPPV construction to resume in the second half of this year as countries around the world recover from the impact of COVID-19 on transportation and economic development.
In recent years, the rapid rise of the photovoltaic industry has promoted the development of floating photovoltaic and other market segments, which have gradually entered the public horizon and gained the attention of the capital market. According to P&S, the total investment in the global floating PV market exceeded $680 million in 2019.
However, it is widely accepted that the floating PV industry is not yet mature and the development is slower than expected. Up to now, the market still does not have more accurate statistics to installed capacity of this subdivision domain. In 2020, there were 16 floating PV projects planned or under construction globally, with a total installed capacity of about 11GW.
In Vietnam, for example, floating PV projects already charge 7.69 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is much higher than other types of PV projects, such as surface PV plants. It makes them more attractive to investors, P&S said in its report. In addition, India set a floating PV project electricity price of 5.81 cents/KWH. In addition to direct subsidies, the Indian government also allows floating PV projects to sign long-term power purchase agreements to find buyers in advance, which also plays a certain role in stimulating the market.
Although FPPV is still in its infancy worldwide, P&S believes that it is no accident that FPPV is gaining increasing attention from governments and the market.
As the global energy transition continues to accelerate, all countries have set specific renewable energy development targets. In order to achieve the established installed scale as soon as possible, large base photovoltaic construction is essential, but the mainstream centralized surface photovoltaic power station is criticized for occupying a large area of land. In contrast, the surface of idle water bodies such as lakes, reservoirs and oceans can be used for floating photovoltaic projects, which has obvious advantages.
"Although the PV is green and reliable, some investors are reluctant to choose traditional ground-based PV projects due to land occupancy issues," P&S said in its report. If available land area is more and more limited in the future, the problem of land occupation may affect the overall development space of the photovoltaic industry. Floating PV systems can solve this dilemma."
According to a recent study by industry research firm DNVGL, the potential installed capacity could reach four terawatts if the reservoirs of existing hydropower stations around the world are utilized to develop floating PV projects.
Against this backdrop, P&S believes that capital market recognition of floating PV systems will continue to grow. With total investment in the global floating PV market expected to exceed $2.3 billion by 2026. It will increase more than quadruple from US $680 million in 2019. As FPPV becomes a new investment hotspot in the energy sector, the global installed capacity of FPPV is expected to exceed 10 GW in the next five years.