Floating Solar Plant: Concept, Benefits, and Challenges

Floating Solar Plant

Concept of Floating Solar Plant

A Floating Solar Plant, also known as Floating Photovoltaic (FPV), is a solar power production system mounted on a structure that floats on water bodies like lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. These systems use solar panels similar to those in traditional land-based installations but are specially designed to be buoyant and withstand aquatic environments. The panels are mounted on platforms that are tethered to the bottom of the water body or anchored to the shore.


  1. Land Conservation:
    • Utilizes water surfaces, preserving valuable land for agriculture and other uses.
  2. Increased Efficiency:
    • The cooling effect of water can increase the efficiency of solar panels, leading to better performance compared to land-based systems.
  3. Reduced Evaporation:
    • Covering water surfaces with solar panels reduces water evaporation, which is beneficial for water conservation, especially in drought-prone areas.
  4. Environmental Benefits:
    • Helps in reducing algae growth by limiting sunlight penetration, improving water quality.
    • Can be combined with aquaculture, leading to a dual-use of water bodies.
  5. Energy Generation Near Consumption Points:
    • Can be installed on reservoirs near urban areas, reducing transmission losses and costs.
  6. Scalability:
    • Can be scaled up by adding more floating units without significant environmental disturbance.


  1. Initial Costs:
    • Higher initial setup costs due to the need for specialized equipment and technology.
  2. Maintenance:
    • Challenges in maintenance and cleaning due to the aquatic environment.
    • Potential biofouling (accumulation of organisms on surfaces) which requires regular cleaning.
  3. Durability:
    • Need for robust materials to withstand water conditions, including waves, currents, and potential storm damage.
  4. Environmental Impact:
    • Potential negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems, including shading effects on aquatic flora and fauna.
    • Anchoring systems may disturb the water bed.
  5. Regulatory and Logistical Hurdles:
    • Navigating regulatory requirements for water use.
    • Logistical challenges in transporting and assembling floating units.

Installed and Running Projects

  1. Anhui, China:
    • The world’s largest floating solar plant on a former coal mine in Anhui Province, with a capacity of 150 MW.
  2. Yamakura Dam, Japan:
    • A floating solar plant with a capacity of 13.7 MW, installed on the Yamakura Dam reservoir.
  3. Cirata Reservoir, Indonesia:
    • One of Southeast Asia’s largest floating solar projects, with a planned capacity of 145 MW.
  4. Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, UK:
    • A 6.3 MW floating solar plant installed on the reservoir near London.
  5. Raw Water Pond, South Korea:
    • South Korea has multiple floating solar projects, including installations on raw water ponds with significant capacity additions.
  6. Walajabad, India:
    • India has several floating solar projects, including a 2 MW plant on the Walajabad Reservoir.


Floating solar plants offer an innovative solution to land constraints and water conservation while increasing the efficiency of solar energy production. Although there are challenges related to cost, maintenance, and environmental impact, the benefits and growing number of successful projects worldwide underscore the bright future of this technology.

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By Dr. Jignesh Makwana

Dr. Jignesh Makwana, Ph.D., is an Electrical Engineering expert with over 15 years of teaching experience in subjects such as power electronics, electric drives, and control systems. Formerly an associate professor and head of the Electrical Engineering Department at Marwadi University, he now serves as a product design and development consultant for firms specializing in electric drives and power electronics.