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By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced that it plans to study, develop and construct floating solar photovoltaic plants in the Arabian Gulf. This is following a trend in the energy industry seeing floating photovoltaics (PV) initiatives catching on.

The 648 MW solar PV plant in India, Miami Beach, Miami, Florida, News
The 648 MW solar PV plant in India, which is currently the largest in the world, spreads over 3.9 sq. miles, internet photo recreation.

A press release from DEWA said, “This is a new and innovative initiative by DEWA to use solar power that supports the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 (DCES 2050) to diversify the energy mix in Dubai, to make the Emirate a global hub for clean energy and green economy, and provide 75 percent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2050.”

Floating PV plants have already delivered 1.1 gigawatts of installations worldwide, according to the World Bank. Although that is a small slice of the broader solar industry, which now installs close to 100 gigawatts a year, the future looks bright.

The reason is that water-based solar plants is beneficial solar panel performance will decline as the internal temperature gets too high. According to a report by Forbes, the same system installed on a lake rather than on the shore will actually see a boost to performance.

Also, lakes and reservoirs can reduce their losses from evaporation by covering part of the surface with solar, so water-scarce regions can help slow the depletion of the resource.

Just last month it was reported that the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County approved a resolution directing the administration to research the potential for deploying floating solar power on artificial bodies of water.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently identified South Florida as an ideal location for deploying floating solar power. Also deploying floating solar panels on artificial lakes presents fewer environmental concerns than deploying them on natural waterways.

“When we dedicate land, which is scarce, to solar farms, it forces the hard choice between growing things on that land versus energy production,” said Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, the item’s sponsor.

“With our significant number of artificial lakes, Miami-Dade County is uniquely positioned to take advantage of floating solar technologies,” Commissioner Cava said.

“We need to be bold and lead the Sunshine State in using solar and renewable energies that reduce our carbon footprint, and make sure Miami-Dade becomes the U.S. industry technology hub for this rapidly growing segment of the booming solar industry.”

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