Project Name: Quantifying and Valuing Fundamental Characteristics and Benefits of Floating Photovoltaic (FPV) Systems
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Manufacturing and Competitiveness
Location: Orlando, FL
SETO Award Amount: $750,000
Awardee Cost Share: $212,500
Principal Investigator: John Sherwin

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project team is working to determine whether the performance of floating photovoltaics (FPV) for solar energy generation are significantly different from photovoltaics (PV) that are based on land. Through systematic and comprehensive data collection, this project will examine FPV performance, assess potential environmental risks and benefits, and provide a large public data set to gain better understanding of the impacts of FPV.

APPROACH

The team is conducting research at four floating and four land-based PV sites in CA, CO, and FL, with the land-based sites serving as experimental controls. The researchers will collect climatic and module-level microclimatic data along with performance data on a minute-by-minute basis, and will compare their measurements with predictions from simulations to determine whether the pond-operated environment significantly affects FPV performance. To study environmental effects of FPV, the team will collect water quality and biological data at each of the sites.

INNOVATION

This project is the first to systematically collect comprehensive techno-ecological data on FPV in North America in multiple U.S. climate zones. Little research has been done on FPV performance and environmental impacts, so the results of this work will mark a significant increase in data on FPV impacts.