In an effort to address land-use challenges and increase energy security, Southeast Asian countries are exploring the potential of floating photovoltaics (FPV) as a renewable energy solution. A groundbreaking assessment conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), analyzed the FPV potential for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
The report, titled “Enabling Floating Solar Photovoltaic (FPV) Deployment: FPV Technical Potential Assessment for Southeast Asia,” provides an estimate of the technical potential for FPV in the region. It also includes a publicly accessible FPV dataset through the USAID-NREL Partnership’s Renewable Energy (RE) Data Explorer tool.
FPV arrays, installed on water bodies such as lakes, reservoirs, or water treatment ponds, offer a unique solution to overcome land-use restrictions. They can be installed independently or in combination with hydropower dams, utilizing underutilized water surfaces for clean energy generation. This approach is particularly relevant in Southeast Asia, where existing hydropower infrastructure faces challenges during periods of drought and water scarcity.
The study highlights the complementary nature of solar and hydropower resources, with FPV helping to stabilize energy generation during low reservoir levels. Additionally, FPV deployment on water bodies presents opportunities for aquaculture integration, known as AquaPV, which enhances food security by combining energy and food production in a sustainable manner.
Southeast Asian countries, striving to achieve their ambitious renewable energy targets, see FPV as a viable option to overcome land availability and geographical constraints. The ASEAN region aims to achieve 35% renewable energy installed power capacity by 2025.
By providing comprehensive data on FPV technical potential, the NREL study equips policymakers, developers, and stakeholders with valuable information for decision-making and the development of FPV projects in the region. The inclusion of FPV data in the RE Data Explorer tool enhances the analysis and assessment capabilities for renewable energy generation in Southeast Asia.
The study’s findings underscore the promising role of FPV in Southeast Asia’s clean energy transition, offering innovative solutions to meet energy demands while promoting environmental sustainability and food security.