Government efforts to curb the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere are expected to propel the global floating solar panels market to US$2301.8 million by 2026, from US$685.2 million in 2019, according to the market research study published by P&S Intelligence.
In countries around the world, stringent environmental regulations are in place and tax rebates and other financial incentives are being offered to promote clean energy. Though solar energy is one of the best alternatives to creating electricity from fossil fuels, the requirement for large areas for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels discourages many from adopting it.
This is proving beneficial for the floating solar panels market, as such PV plants are installed on waterbodies, including lakes, ponds, dam reservoirs, and seas. This leaves the land free for other purposes, such as agriculture or construction, which is why governments are now rapidly installing PV panels on water. For instance, the Indian government in 2018 announced intentions to create 10 GW of electricity from floating PV panels.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a dent in the growth of the floating solar panels market, as the countrywide lockdowns around the world have led to the closure of factories manufacturing PV panels and other components required in a solar plant. Therefore, many of the projects which were due to be commissioned in 2020 will now face definite delays.
In the coming years, the onshore bifurcation, based on location, will dominate the floating solar panels market, because lakes, ponds, and dam reservoirs witness lower tides and weaker currents than oceans, which leads to less damage to the PV panels and floating structure in onshore waterbodies. Moreover, the maintenance of offshore floating solar panels is difficult and cost-intensive, which is why onshore waterbodies are preferred for PV panel installation.
The PV bifurcation has generated the higher revenue in the floating solar panels market till now, under segmentation by technology. This is ascribed to the proven ability of this technology to create substantial amounts of clean energy. Further, the concentrated solar power (CSP) technology for electricity production is not that well developed, which results in the higher deployment of the PV technology for this purpose.
Over the next few years, Asia-Pacific (APAC) is projected to continue being the largest floating solar panels market, owing to the increase in the government initiatives supporting this technology. Moreover, environmental regulations in the region are rather strict, and the demand for cheap power is also surging. Another factor which makes APAC the largest contributor to the industry is its limited land area, due to its high population density and urbanisation rate, which creates a hindrance in the setting up of terrestrial solar plants.
To make the most of the opportunities being presented by the rapidly advancing floating solar panels market, companies offering PV panels and other components and services are either increasing their offerings or entering into partnerships.
For instance, in August 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Pestech International Bhd and Sungrow Power Supply Co. Ltd., a Chinese firm, for developing floating solar plants, to cater to the rising energy demand in Southeast Asia.
In May 2019, JA Solar Technology Co. Ltd. had deployed its high-efficiency half-cell mono PERC technology solar modules at a 450 kW floating PV plant in South Korea. The Korean Standards Association (KS) had previously provided JA Solar Technology Co. Ltd. with the production certificate for the latter's 395 W half-cell mono PERC module in April 2019.
The major companies functioning in the global floating solar panels market are JA Solar Technology Co. Ltd., Ciel Et Terre International, Ocean Sun AS, JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd., Sungrow Power Supply Co. Ltd., Quant Solar, Sharp Corporation, Topper Floating Solar PV Mounting Manufacturer Co. Ltd., Swimsol GmbH, Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd., and Trina Solar Limited.
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