7. 2 Policies and Scenarios for Renewables, Societal and Global Challenges
Summary / Abstract:
As offshore wind makes its way from Europe to Asia, large-scale floating solar photovoltaics (PV) is making its way from Asia to Europe. This study reviews and analyses the rise of utility-scale floating solar photovoltaics (PV) development in Asia and its driving factors to determine the market potential for floating PV in Europe. Keys to the success of floating PV in Europe is also suggested based on the findings. The challenge for solar PV to claim a larger share in many European energy mixes include lower solar resource and lack of suitable land for large-scale development. Globally, for example in many Asian countries, land availability is also a challenge for solar PV. In recent years, floating PV has become an increasingly prominent form of utility PV development in Asia and can potentially become the answer to these challenges. From Taiwan to Vietnam, mega-scale floating PV plants have been proposed, developed and commissioned. Even excluding the Chinese and Indian market, there is still 20 GWAC of floating PV projects across all development stages in Asia. Historically, higher capital expenditures (CAPEX) and relatively less matured technologies has made floating PV a riskier investment than groundmounted PV. Asia has become the perfect testbed for floating PV both in terms of technology and regulations with technically challenging conditions such as typhoons, together with a general higher-risk investment climate. Lessons learnt from failures due to wild weather seen in Japan will help improve the overall reliability and bankability of floating PV farms while simple Feed-in-tariff in Vietnam or specific tenders for exciting combinations of hydroelectric and floating PV in Thailand can be among the regulations to trigger European floating PV’s growth. A careful analysis and understanding of these factors will not only help increase the installed capacity of solar PV in Europe but also lowering the CAPEX required for the overall energy transition.