Are floating panels the future of solar energy?

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Are floating solar panels the future of zero emissions?
Photo: Zbynek Burival - Unsplash

The BBC’s Future Planet  project has visited the Netherlands to report about the creation of new floating solar farms which track the Sun and move across the water in order to catch as many rays as possible. 

Floating solar panels have been experiencing a boom around the world in recent years. This is largely due to significant technological improvements which have meant their solar capacity has been increased from 70 MWp in 2015 to 1,300 MWp in 2020. This has led the market for the technology to grow significantly, and it is now expected to increase at a rate of 43% a year for the next decade, reaching $24.5bn by 2031. 

In the Netherlands, a set of 180 panels has been installed at the Oostvoornse Meer, a lake in the south-west of the country. These panels, which were initially built by a Portuguese company, SolarisFloat, could be key to creating large amounts of clean electricity – with the added benefit of not taking up valuable land. 

In the article, the BBC spoke with representatives of various European universities, for example Leiden in the Netherlands and Loughborough in the UK in order to learn more about what role floating solar panels could play in a zero emissions future.


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