I didn’t know the existence of floating solar farms until I read the news of Google’s solar power project above fishing ponds in Taiwan.
Floating solar farms are more popular in Asia as Asian countries are more densely populated. Currently, China has the world’s largest floating solar farm, which includes 166,000 solar panels to power about 15,000 homes. It is installed on a lake that was once to be a coal mine.
The economic impact of a floating solar power project is certainly different from place to place. A group of Taiwanese researchers investigated the impact of solar panel installation above fish ponds on the production of clams and several fish species. They found that solar panels can keep water temperature more stable, resulting in increasing production of the fish species that prefer to live in colder water.
A floating solar farm can bring other benefits including the reduction of algae growth and evaporation. Hence, it is attractive to build floating solar farms especially on top of bodies of water that are not ecologically sensitive such as reservoirs and wastewater treatment ponds. As declining solar prices are expected to continue, there may be more floating solar farms around the world in near future.