The solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are used, as eco-friendly and renewal energy based power generation technologies around the world. These solar panels are installed upon free land and roof tops. However, solar PV systems have a major drawback of occupying large land areas. Several countries around the world do not have large free-land areas, and hence could not implement solar PV systems on a large scale. These problems were addressed with the advent of floating solar panel technology. The floating solar panel technology utilizes water surface for the installation of solar panels. These floating solar power plants can be installed upon ponds, lakes, rivers, reservoirs and sea. The floating solar power plant comprises floating system (floating structure and floater). The floating solar panels have several advantages over land-mounted solar panels, such as increased efficiency and evaporation control. Solar panels work more efficiently at low temperature. Floating solar panels have increased efficiency, due to the cooling effect of water.
Based on locations, the global floating solar panels market can be segmented into on-shore floating solar panels and off-shore floating solar panels. Whereas, based on product type, the global floating solar panels market comprises stationary floating solar panels and solar-tracking floating solar panels. In 2014, the stationary floating solar panels accounted for the larger share in the global floating solar panels market. Asia-Pacific is the largest market for stationary floating solar panels, owing to high investment made by major solar panel manufacturers for the development of floating solar power plants and increased government support for floating solar power projects. For instance, in April 2015, Kyocera TCL Solar LLC, a joint venture of Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation accomplished the construction of two floating mega-solar power plants at Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The plants are expected to produce 3,300 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
Some of the major drivers fuelling the growth of the global floating solar panels market are increased government initiatives and stringent environmental regulations, no need for acquisition of large land areas, and increased efficiency of power generation. The rapid depletion of fossil fuels and global warming caused by their usage has shifted the global interest from conventional energy resources to green energy resources. The different governments across the globe have initiated several projects and schemes to promote and encourage the generation of renewable energy. With the advent of floating solar technology, several countries, such as Japan, the U.S., the U.K., France, Australia, India, and Brazil have started taking initiatives to develop floating solar power plants. Many of these countries are providing direct capital subsidies and tax benefits to the manufacturers of solar panels.
The lack of service providers and scarcity of free land areas is creating ample growth opportunities for the global floating solar panels market. However, high installation and maintenance cost is a major challenge in the global floating solar panels market.
The global floating solar panels market was valued at $3.89 million in 2014, and it is expected to grow with a CAGR of 116.1% during 2015 - 2020.
The key companies operating in the global floating solar panels market include Novaton AG, Ciel & Terre International, DNV GL AS, Infratech Industries, Inc., KYOCERA Corporation, SPI Solar, Pristine Sun, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited, Trina Solar Limited and Sharp Corporation.