Focus Session

Hydropower and solar hybrids

Thursday 16 May 2019 | 09:30-10:45

Hydropower coupled with solar PV presents a significant opportunity to scale up solar energy deployment around the world. When treated as a single generation source, solar power fluctuations and variability is compensated by hydropower operations, resulting in water conservation, reducing reserve requirements and the efficient use of existing transmission and distribution infrastructure.

In particular, floating solar PV technologies, or “Floatovoltaics,” have seen mercurial growth in the past four years, from a worldwide installed capacity of 10 megawatts at the end of 2014 to more than 1.1 GW by the end of 2018 (World Bank, 2018). Floatovoltaics have a distinct advantage especially in countries where land-use constraints are high. At some large hydropower plants, covering just 3-4 percent of the reservoir with floating solar could double the capacity of the solar plant, potentially allowing water resources to be more strategically managed by utilising the solar output during the day.

Combining solar and hydropower can also be used to smooth the variability of solar output, thus supporting renewable energy deployment in grids that lack the flexibility to incorporate large injections of variable renewable energy.

Session objectives:

This session will showcase hydropower – solar PV hybrids, with a particular focus on the potential for floating PV to augment hydropower production. It seeks to explore the regulatory and policy barriers to increasing the uptake of this technology worldwide.




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Greg Thomas

Executive Director, Natural Heritage Institute

Miguel Patena