Floating PV

Climate Change and Water Crisis

Chile is one of the countries that is being most affected by Climate Change, meeting seven of the nine vulnerability criteria, including arid and semi-arid zones and areas prone to drought and desertification. The water crisis is already a reality.


Due to poor management and increased water demand, this crisis may intensify, affecting, above all, agriculture throughout the country, which is the main consumer of the resource (88% of available water).


To ensure the country's development in a sustainable way, it is necessary to mitigate its effects: how? with the generation of clean energy and greater efficiency in the use of water.

Photovoltaic panels on water

In this context, the Floating PV concept - which seeks to install photovoltaic panels on bodies of water - not only has the potential to generate clean energy, but also to protect water from evaporation. In addition, Floating PV promises to solve the problem of access to electricity in rural areas, avoiding conflicts with agricultural land use.


In itself, a Floating PV system is similar to a land-based photovoltaic system, designed with the same components, the difference being that the PV panels are mounted on a platform that floats on water.


Although Floating PV is an innovative concept, it quickly became a mature and reliable technology with large-scale commercial application. From the first such project in 2007 in Japan, it took only 6 years to install the first Floating PV plant with a capacity of 1 Megawatt (MW). Worldwide, the total installed capacity of Floating PV systems in 2026 is estimated to be more than 4.8 GW.


Floating PV is an integrative concept and a special environment for the installation of photovoltaic panels with synergistic effects:


Studies show that the greatest observed impact is reflected in an 80% reduction of water evaporation. In turn, the water has a cooling impact on the PV panels, lowering their temperature on sunny and hot days by 5 to 10 °C, allowing to increase the efficiency of electricity generation.


Installation over water can also facilitate the cleaning of the PV panels since water availability is abundant and the resource is not lost. Finally, the use of water surfaces helps to solve the land use conflict of solar energy, which requires 10 m2 of surface area to generate 1 MWh of energy.

FIC-R Project: Construction of a pilot project in the Metropolitan Region

The main objective of the project was to demonstrate the technical-economic-legal feasibility of a Floating PV pilot generating knowledge and confidence in the agricultural world. Therefore, we sought to install the Floating PV pilot in an agricultural reservoir in the Metropolitan Region to generate electricity in rural areas, without conflict for the use of agricultural land and at the same time protecting the water resource.







El video muestra una panorámica de esta planta piloto ubicada en el embalse Canal de Aguas Hospital, en la comuna de Paine, al sur de la región Metropolitana. 

As part of the project, a Floating PV pilot plant was installed on the reservoir of the Canal Hospital Water Community (CACH): The Floating PV pilot plant consists of 30 monocrystalline PV panels, which means a total module area of 66 m2 and an output of 16.2 kWp. The PV panels are fixedly mounted at a 10° northward tilt on modular high-density polyethylene (HDPE) floats and the entire floating PV plant has a surface area of about 100 m2.


The PV panels feed two 7.5 kWp single-phase inverters and thus generate up to about 65 kWh/day or 24 MWh of energy per year. This energy allows water to be pumped and saves approximately CLP 2,500,000 compared to the energy consumption from the grid.


At the same time, the Floating PV system with an area of 100 square meters protects about 100,000 liters or 100 m3 of water from evaporation each year.


As a comparison: a vegetable production cycle requires between 2,000 to 8,000 m3 of water per hectare. Considering an average of 5,000 m3/ha, which is equivalent to 500 liters/m2, an area of 200 square meters can be irrigated in a vegetable production cycle with only the water protected from evaporation.

The project is financed by the Metropolitan FIC-R fund of the Regional Government under the BIP code: 400026953-0 and counts with the collaboration of PUNTO SOLAR, a company dedicated to complete engineering services and solar installations, Andesol, a company dedicated to the maintenance of photovoltaic systems and DMC Consultores, lawyers analyzing legal aspects.

Floating PV Project Brochure


Floating PV: Clean Power Generation and Water Protection




Download this summary where you will find all the information about the project carried out with the FIC-R fund of the Metropolitan Regional Government (BIP code: 400026953-0) by the Fraunhofer Chile team.

Evaporation and power generation research

To understand the impact of the installation of photovoltaic panels on water, we have equipped the pilot with sensors to measure microclimatic parameters. This allows us to quantify the impact of the pilot on decreasing water evaporation. The data also allows us to quantify the impact of water cooling on the panels and the increase in generation efficiency.

Fraunhofer Chile helps industry to develop the full potential of Floating PV

Chilean agriculture is based on irrigation and, therefore, has become more risky in recent decades. That is why, since 2010, the National Irrigation Commission has carried out more than 2,200 projects for the construction, enlargement or rehabilitation of agricultural reservoirs and dams to ensure the availability of water for irrigation in all seasons of the year.  Precisely in these reservoirs and dams lies a great potential to generate energy and protect water.


To develop this potential, Fraunhofer Chile supports industry and the public sector in the development of the Floating PV concept and concrete projects. The services we offer in conjunction with Fraunhofer ISE in Germany are:

  • Analysis of potential on a Geographic Information System (GIS) basis.
  • Pre-feasibility study and "Digital-Twin".
  • Light and yield simulation
  • Economic feasibility studies
  • Finite Element Method (FEM) for wind and wave load assessment
  • FPV specific control
  • FPV specific reliability controls
  • Leaching and contaminant release assessment
  • Predictive maintenance

Comunicados de prensa y noticias


[PV Magazine Latam] Fraunhofer Chile construye un proyecto piloto flotante

El proyecto busca solucionar el acceso a energía eléctrica en zonas rurales, evitar conflictos en uso de suelo agrícola y proteger el recurso hídrico.


[Comunicado de Prensa] Fraunhofer Chile y Gobierno Regional entregan planta flotante fotovoltaica a agricultores de Paine

  • Gracias al Fondo FIC-R Met, Fraunhofer Chile desarrolló un módulo piloto de paneles fotovoltaicos flotantes en embalse de la comunidad de Aguas “Hospital”, la cual fue entregada esta semana a los agricultores beneficiados.

Webinar Floating PV

¿Buscas soluciones innovadoras para proteger embalses y tranques de agua?. En el Webinar Floating PV: Experiencias y Desafíos se abordaron interesantes presentaciones sobre cómo poder implementar esta tecnología.


Consejero alemán visitó plantas pilotos de Agrivoltaico y Flotante PV de Fraunhofer Chile

Invitado por el Centro de Tecnologías para Energía Solar de Fraunhofer Chile (FCR CSET), el Consejero Agrícola de la República Federal de Alemania para Argentina, Chile y Uruguay, Hermann Intemann, acompañado por el Líder de Sistemas Fotovoltaicos de FCR CSET, William Montes...

Entrevista efectuada por la Embajada de la República Federal de Alemania en Chile al investigador David Jung como parte de campaña promocional de las actividades de cooperación científica internacional #ChileAlemania. Los proyectos Flotante PV, AgroPV y Urban Farm PV mostrados en las imágenes fueron financiados por el Gobierno Regional Metropolitano y su Fondo FIC-R Códigos BIP 40026953-0, 30449383-0 y 40026953-0 (respectivamente)

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