Will floating solar prove pivotal in archipelagic Philippines?

(Eco Business, 5 Mar 2024) As floating photovoltaic systems emerge as a bright spot in the Philippines’ renewable energy quest, how can the archipelago push expansion while minding the technology’s potential environmental and social impacts?

In a growing number of developing nations, the push towards clean energy is ultimately a struggle over land use. 

Utility-scale solar and wind farms need at least 10 times more land per unit of power produced compared to coal- and gas-fired power plants, according to report by McKinsey.

Addressing land rights is critical for solar developers in Southeast Asia, as the majority of the region’s accessible land is primarily utilised for agriculture.

In archipelagos like the Philippines, however, floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems may surface as a feasible solution in the energy transition – although not without ecological and social risks flagged by civil society organisations.

Floating solar – which involves mounting photovoltaic panels on the surface of water bodies such as lakes, reservoirs, industrial ponds and coastal areas – could be a “central pillar in Southeast Asia’s energy future,” said think tank Rystad Energy in a study.

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Eco Business, 5 Mar 2024: Will floating solar prove pivotal in archipelagic Philippines?