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Superlative floating solar farms
World tour of the most powerful offshore PV systems in pictures

‘Floatovoltaics,’ is the new term coined by the sector for ‘floating photovoltaics,’ or offshore solar farms. For several years, this technology, which enables solar modules to be installed on bodies of water, has been experiencing a veritable boom. According to World Bank, global installed capacity has risen from some ten megawatts (MW) in 2014 to far over one gigawatt (GW) today. Floating solar has thus evolved from niche application to a technology suitable for commercial use. It is set to gain significance going forward, with many new projects to come in this and the next few years.

The concept offers several advantages: Whereas large-scale ground-mounted PV systems occupy a lot of space, which is a scarce commodity especially in densely populated areas  with great demand for energy, floating systems can simply be set up on floats on lakes or in coastal waters. Moreover, modules mounted on floats and moored to buoys promise higher yields. One of the reasons is that water acts as a natural coolant for the cells, enabling them to operate efficiently even at high external temperatures. These and further benefits are causing increasing numbers of operators to opt for this technology – and build ever-larger arrays. en:former has put together an image gallery to present some of the most powerful of these systems.

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