The Korea Herald


Floating solar power to quadruple by 2025: report

Offshore solar plant emerges as new alternative to help meet government’s renewable energy target

By Yim Hyun-su

Published : Aug. 22, 2021 - 15:32

    • Link copied

Floating solar panels (Korea Water Resources Corp.) Floating solar panels (Korea Water Resources Corp.)
The global market for floating solar panels is set to more than quadruple by 2025, a recent report has revealed.

The report published by Korea Energy Economics Institute on Sunday estimates that the total power generation capacity of floating solar farms around the globe had surpassed 3 gigawatts as of October 2020.

By 2025, the volume will grow by another 10 GW, the institute said, citing data from market researcher Fitch Solutions.

The findings come as the Korean government announced the Green New Deal plan last year, pledging to increase solar power and wind power output by 30 GW in the next six years.

But finding the locations to install sufficient solar panels has emerged as a challenge due to the country’s abundance of mountains and resistance from nearby residents. Against this backdrop, offshore solar power plants should be considered, the report argued.

The market for floating solar has been steadily growing in recent years.

In 2018, floating panels generated 1.3 GW before the volume increased to an estimated 2.4 GW by the end of the following year.

As of January this year, floating solar power generation capacity in 12 countries -- South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, India, Taiwan, Greece, the Netherlands, Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia -- including those both already in operation or planned was estimated at 15.5 GW, the report said, citing data from Bloomberg.

When broken down by country, South Korea and China ranked atop the list, the report said.

Thailand, Vietnam and Laos were the only other countries whose floating solar power generation capacity surpassed 1 GW when floating panels both already in operation and planned were counted.

The report, however, said that South Korea faces challenges in increasing its floating solar capacity, such as environmental safety and getting local residents on board.

But multiple analyses by the Korea Environment Institute concluded that solar power panels do not have a harmful impact on water quality, the report noted.

“While the environmental issue can be solved with studies, receiving approval from local residents is difficult since you have to consider various opinions,” the report said.

“The central and local governments and businesses need to propose and seek ways to share the profit generated from floating solar businesses with local residents.”