Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States
This article concerns floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems, also called floatovoltaics, or aquavoltaics, a rapidly growing emerging technology application in which solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are sited directly on water. Along with providing such benefits as reduced evaporation and algae growth, it can lower PV operating temperatures and potentially reduce the costs of solar energy generation. This article provides the first national-level (United States) estimate of FPV technical potential using a combination of filtered, large-scale datasets, site-specific PV generation models, and geospatial analytical tools. The authors quantify FPV co-benefits and siting considerations, such as land conservation, coincidence with high electricity prices, and evaporation rates. Our results demonstrate the potential of FPV to contribute significantly to the U.S. electric sector, even using conservative assumptions.