The full house at the Future PV Roundtable at this year’s Renewable Energy India Expo was evidence of the buoyant expectations for the application of floating PV in the Indian market. But with the technology still at a relatively early stage in the country, many concerns are rising to the surface.
The benefits of heterojunction technology are well known. But as the first modules come onto the market from REC Group’s new HJT lines, the competitive landscape is crowded, but not without opportunity.
High levels of interest in floating solar installations in the Indian market was demonstrated on the second day of the Renewable Energy India Expo, which concludes today in New Delhi. The pv magazine Future PV Roundtable addressed the theme in a full-house conference session, where many questions were raised about module and array durability and performance, along with monitoring, O&M and safety considerations.
Indian module makers are gearing up for an end-of-year surge of procurement for solar projects in the country and hoping that their investments in incorporating global manufacturing benchmarks will translate into enhanced sales offtake.
With developers facing land constraints, a huge pipeline of floating PV projects is currently in the early stages of development in India. While the outlook for solar on water in the fast-moving solar marketplace appears bright, there is much industry learning still to be had and a steep learning curve for component suppliers and developers alike.
The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) is continuing to step up its efforts to ensure the quality of large scale solar projects. The body is now looking for stakeholder input into its new best practice guidelines for PV power plant projects, as a part of its ongoing Quality Taskforce initiative.
Two related challenges have become barriers to increasing penetration levels for rooftop solar: the hosting capacity of the grid, and the need to maintain stability during periods of peak demand. The Future PV Roundtable, held alongside The smarter E event in Munich, looked at how distributed energy resources such as PV and battery storage, along with demand-side flexibility, can help to meet these challenges – all thanks to VPPs.
Floating PV arrays have the advantage of bypassing lengthy and costly land acquisition processes for developing megawatt-scale solar projects in India. When combined with the additional output from cooler modules and system-level advantages when located on hydro dams, the upside is significant. But durability of modules-on-water is of concern, and one about which there is little awarenesss, says Vivek Chaturvedi, regional business director for DSM Advanced Solar.
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