The global floating solar power (FPV) market is expected to continue its steady growth as the Asia Pacific region continues to drive demand.
By 2031, fifteen countries are projected to exceed 500 MW of cumulative FPV installations. China, India and Indonesia, which accounted for nearly 70% of the total demand for FPV equipment in 2022, are projected to remain at the top.
WoodMac expects FPV to hold a stable market share of global solar demand, with FPV expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% over the period 2022-2031.
“Although FPV’s development costs are 20-50% higher than comparable countries, the increased competitiveness of developers and the EPC environment is helping to lower costs in the industry,” Wood Mackenzie consultant Ting Yu said. SNEC PV Power Expo in Shanghai this week.
The Asia-Pacific market continues to lead demand. The region had about 3 GW of floating solar projects in 2022, capturing more than 90% of the global FPV market. In China, cumulative FPV capacity is projected to exceed 13 GW by 2031, with a CAGR of 12 percent over the next 10 years.
“China continues to be at the forefront of floating solar power systems. The country has been able to utilize flooded coal mines that have been decommissioned to develop floating solar power,” Yu said.
With almost 150 MW, Europe is the second largest region for FPV demand. The Netherlands, representing 32 percent of the European FPV market in 2022, is the largest developer of FPV projects in Europe, followed by France.
The Netherlands has the largest FPV project outside of the Asia-Pacific region – the 41.4 MW Sellingen Floating Solar Park, which came on stream in 2021. However, WoodMac predicts slow growth for the Dutch market after 2025, “as if the most important sites had already been developed by now.”
The US floating solar CAGR is estimated to be around 13% through 2031, with development driven by areas with high solar demand but high land costs, including California, Florida and New Jersey.
“Overall, the floating solar industry has experienced high costs in all market segments due to rising component costs and other soft costs due to supply chain constraints in 2022,” Yu said.
For example, the increase in the price of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) was the main driver of the high structural balance of FPV’s cost of system (SBOS). However, WoodMac expects costs to decrease as the supply chain expands.
According to S&P Global, 3.4 GW of floating solar capacity was installed around the world by the end of 2021. The market intelligence company predicts that global demand for floating solar power will reach 14 GW by 2026. About 92% of these installations are likely to be built in the Asia-Pacific region, driven by favorable policy and installation targets, S&P Global says.