Germany's exploitable floating PV potential at coal mines set at 2.74 GW

Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

February 4 (Renewables Now) - Germany’s economic potential to deploy floating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on lignite opencast mines stands at 2.74 GWp, according to an assessment by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.

This figure excludes areas relevant for leisure activities, tourism, nature and landscape protection, as well as open-cast ponds with less than one hectare or significant fluctuations in the depth of the lake and lakes where the system cannot be anchored on the bank. Including those sites, the technical potential amounts to 56 GWp.

The study does not cover other artificial water types as well as natural stagnant water and mentions that open-cast lignite lakes represent just 12.9% of the 4,474 artificial stagnant waters in the country.

According to the research institute, the greatest potential for floating PV installations lies in Lusatia and the Central German area.

The cost of power generation from floating solar arrays is currently higher than that of conventional open-space PV parks by about 10% to 15% on average. That is why floating PV projects have so far not taken part in tenders.

Harry Wirth, head of photovoltaic modules and power plants at Fraunhofer ISE, suggests that Germany should introduce separate auctions specifically for such systems and other area-neutral PV plants still in need of a market boost.

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