Floating photovoltaics - the alternative to using land and roofs to harness solar energy

Floating PV installations are those in which the PV modules are supported on structures that float on the surface of a body of water. These surfaces are typically irrigation ponds, reservoirs or wetlands, although their application in other elements, such as the sea, is also being studied.

In this way, typically unproductive surfaces are used to generate photovoltaic energy, eliminating the need to use land or building roofs for this purpose. Therefore, this type of installation is ideal when a body of water is available, and when part of the land cannot or does not want to be used, and when the available building roofs are not suitable for installing photovoltaic panels.


  • Use of the surface area of water bodies and reduced land use

  • Easy to install and dismantle, no foundations needed

  • Better efficiency than ground systems, in the order of 5 to 15% more efficient

  • Water savings, by reducing evapotranspiration

  • Improving water quality by reducing algae blooms

  • Easier solar tracking


  • More complicated maintenance than land-based plants

  • Difficulty of installation at sea

  • Degradation in saline and harsh environments

  • Generally, they involve a higher investment than ground or roof structures

System components


Installing these floating photovoltaic panels is a relatively easy process, as they do not require heavy machinery, the construction of a foundation or a complex support structure, or even a complex mechanical solar tracking system. In this way, there is less impact on the land, while the location on the water allows for some advantages, such as natural cooling of the panels, thus allowing for greater efficiency.

Examples of completed projects