Exploring Floatovoltaics Video Text Version

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Below is the text version for the video Exploring Floatovoltaics: How Floating Solar PV Could Influence Our Changing Energy Landscape.

Alexandra Aznar, Project Lead: Energy and water issues are increasingly interrelated and this work is an example of how NREL addresses that energy/water nexus.

Floating solar, it's an emerging technology, where you take traditional PV panels and you put them on man-made water bodies.

You're placing them on a floating structure and transmitting the electricity that they generate through an underwater cable to the electrical equipment that's onshore.

There have been relatively few of these projects deployed worldwide and even fewer in the U.S. And so, what we tried to do was a first attempt at quantifying the technical potential that floating solar systems could have in the U.S.

We concluded that floating solar can contribute significantly to the U.S. electric power sector.

So, even under conservative estimates, we think that this resource could contribute to around 10% of current electricity generation in the U.S.

We also looked at where water evaporation losses are the greatest in the U.S. and matched that with the solar resource potential to see where this resource could contribute to evaporation reductions.

We also looked at places in the U.S. where land values are extremely high and determined that these could be good places to deploy floating solar on water bodies because of that high land value and the premium on that land.

This project engaged members across the laboratory because this is essential for an emerging application like this.

There are only a little over 100 projects worldwide, so we still don't have a very good understanding of the technical performance over time of these systems, and a variety of other issues that are unique to this application.

NREL is uniquely positioned to answer some of those questions because our research portfolio spans material science questions related to this technology and some of the policy and techno-economic issues related around this new technology, including how to expand this technology's use in the marketplace.