Floating solar is set to become a key source of renewable energy with the potential to produce 9343 terawatt hours (TWh) globally, equivalent to meeting Europe’s electricity needs three times over. 

A source of vast untapped potential, waterbodies such as reservoirs and lakes are a vital resource providing us with many benefits, but with the emergence of floating solar, they can also supply us with clean energy. Amid ongoing pressure on food and land security, and water resources becoming increasingly scarce, floating solar also provides a unique opportunity to help address these concerns. 

This is the view of the team behind a new joint venture between RSK and Nova Innovation –AquaGen365 – leading the charge in designing and installing floating solar power stations. Its first floating solar project is already up and running in the Port of Leith in Edinburgh, powering Forth Ports’ headquarters with clean, low-cost renewable energy.

AquaGen365 combines the RSK Group’s global reach across more than 200 environmental, engineering and technical service companies in 40 countries with Nova Innovation’s world-leading expertise in marine energy. Collectively, AquaGen365 has more than 20 years’ experience in the development of renewable energy through the deployment of tidal stream, onshore wind, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) and hydro power technologies. 

RSK Director David Taylor said: “Floating solar provides clean, predictable, low-cost energy using reliable and bankable technology that offers an alternative solution to ground-mounted and rooftop solar. It makes a compelling argument for cost-competitive and decarbonised energy generation where land use is not a viable option. Other benefits include a quick-to-deploy modular design with short lead times; scalability to match energy demands; deployment in both marine and freshwater environments; and excellent water conservation benefits (potential to reduce surface evaporation by 42%).” 

David added: “Floating solar will benefit many sectors: in particular, enabling sustainable irrigation in the agricultural sector, helping to achieve carbon net zero targets within the water industry, providing renewable energy to power industrial sites and complexes and driving the push for ‘greener’ ports and harbours.” 

Nova Innovation CEO Simon Forrest commented: “Floating solar presents a massive step forward in the quest for clean, renewable energy. Its main advantage is that it can be installed quickly at scale, particularly in areas where land is scarce or expensive. In line with the commitment made at COP28 to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030, floating solar is a low-cost, accessible solution that can have a real impact on reducing climate change. The complementary skills of RSK and Nova combine perfectly to help achieve these global targets.”

Nova’s floating solar technology is proven to operate in all conditions, including weathering the storms and harsh conditions of the Scottish winter. Using this technology, AquaGen365 is poised to transform the floating solar landscape, setting new standards for innovation and sustainability.