Do floating solar panels have ecological impacts?

The installation of floating solar panels – also known as “Floatovoltaics” – is increasing, especially in places where is necessary to optimize the (lack of) space.

Floating solar panels are an innovative solution, especially for countries with a shortage of land. Despite a higher product cost, floating solar systems are an efficient option because the cooling effect of the water reduces thermal losses, making this solution more competitive than land-based systems in terms of production.

Despite being a growing solution within solar energy systems, the environmental impact of floating solar panels is still unknown. Currently, hundreds of megawatts of “floatvoltaics” can be found around the world, with the countries in Africa and America being the ones with the highest potential.

This because, floating solar panels are ideally installed in human-made bodies of water, irrigations channels and reservoirs of hydropower plants, avoiding the damaging nature preserves or animal habitats. Africa and America countries, like for example Brazil and Canada, are the ones with greatest potential to generate floating solar power, given their hydropower reservoirs area.

Floating solar panels
Floating solar panels are ideally installed in reservoirs of hydropower plants

Floating solar panels environmental impact

The ideal green energy production mix would generate free-carbon power with a minimum social and environmental impact. The repercussions of floating solar panels installations are still unknown.

Some environmental monitoring is being made to give some clarity on the subject and, on the long run, being considered when defining new policies and legislation. The researchers believe some of the impacts may include the blocking of the light in the water, influencing the feeding and reproduction pattens of algae, which can consequently reduce the oxygen in the water, harming the wildlife and impacting the whole ecosystem. Another possible impact is the interference with the exchange of greenhouse gases such as methane between the water and atmosphere. However, the impact will vary with the different panels designs, area and landscapes.

News originally published on Eos.

solar power

Universal Kraft is a pioneer in floating solar and now has solid expertise and a designed portfolio of over 230 MW. We are currently developing projects in Europe and Asia.

More about our solar energy solutions.

Latest news

Discover how to drive change to decentralized energy

Find more about our solutions


Have access to the full Universal Kraft Paper
and other renewable energy updates.

Download Ebook form
Privacy Policy

Before you leave...

Subscribe to our newsletter
and stay updated on the latest renewable energy developments
pop up newsletter
Privacy Policy

Request a Quote

We take great pride in everything that we do, control over products allows us to ensure our customers receive the best quality service.

Request a Quote
Privacy Policy