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Title: Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States

Abstract

We report that floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems, also called floatovoltaics, are a rapidly growing emerging technology application in which solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are sited directly on water. The water-based configuration of FPV systems can be mutually beneficial: 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. Although there is growing interest in FPV, to date there has been no systematic assessment of technical potential in the continental United States. We provide the first national-level estimate of FPV technical potential using a combination of filtered, large-scale datasets, site-specific PV generation models, and geospatial analytical tools. We 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. A total of 24?419 man-made water bodies, representing 27% of the number and 12% of the area of man-made water bodies in the contiguous United States, were identified as being suitable for FPV generation. FPV systems covering just 27% of the identified suitable water bodies could produce almost 10% ofmore » current national generation. Lastly, many of these eligible bodies of water are in water-stressed areas with high land acquisition costs and high electricity prices, suggesting multiple benefits of FPV technologies.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1489330
Report Number(s):
[NREL/JA-6A20-71197]
[Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X]
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC36-08GO28308]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 53; Journal Issue: 3]; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; floating; PV; technical potential; geospatial; water; energy

Citation Formats

Spencer, Robert S., Macknick, Jordan, Aznar, Alexandra, Warren, Adam, and Reese, Matthew O. Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b04735.
Spencer, Robert S., Macknick, Jordan, Aznar, Alexandra, Warren, Adam, & Reese, Matthew O. Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States. United States. doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b04735.
Spencer, Robert S., Macknick, Jordan, Aznar, Alexandra, Warren, Adam, and Reese, Matthew O. Tue . "Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States". United States. doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b04735. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1489330.
@article{osti_1489330,
title = {Floating Photovoltaic Systems: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental United States},
author = {Spencer, Robert S. and Macknick, Jordan and Aznar, Alexandra and Warren, Adam and Reese, Matthew O.},
abstractNote = {We report that floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems, also called floatovoltaics, are a rapidly growing emerging technology application in which solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are sited directly on water. The water-based configuration of FPV systems can be mutually beneficial: 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. Although there is growing interest in FPV, to date there has been no systematic assessment of technical potential in the continental United States. We provide the first national-level estimate of FPV technical potential using a combination of filtered, large-scale datasets, site-specific PV generation models, and geospatial analytical tools. We 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. A total of 24?419 man-made water bodies, representing 27% of the number and 12% of the area of man-made water bodies in the contiguous United States, were identified as being suitable for FPV generation. FPV systems covering just 27% of the identified suitable water bodies could produce almost 10% of current national generation. Lastly, many of these eligible bodies of water are in water-stressed areas with high land acquisition costs and high electricity prices, suggesting multiple benefits of FPV technologies.},
doi = {10.1021/acs.est.8b04735},
journal = {Environmental Science and Technology},
number = [3],
volume = [53],
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {12}
}

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Works referencing / citing this record:

Techno–ecological synergies of solar energy for global sustainability
journal, July 2019

  • Hernandez, Rebecca R.; Armstrong, Alona; Burney, Jennifer
  • Nature Sustainability, Vol. 2, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1038/s41893-019-0309-z