A vast ocean, with calm and crystalline waters, kissed by the relentless sun of the equator. In this idyllic setting, futuristic structures emerge: floating solar panels, stretching out to the horizon like a shimmering carpet.
These panels are not only engineering marvels, but they represent a promise: that of a future powered by clean and inexhaustible energy. And the protagonist of this story may not be a technologically advanced country, but Indonesia, an archipelago that could revolutionize the way we think about energy.
The energy of the future floats on water
Among the solutions to address the growing energy demand, solar energy is the one that most stimulates our collective imagination. And what better place to capture this energy than near the equator, where the sun shines most intensely?
Indonesia, with its privileged geographical position and its calm waters, emerges as an ideal candidate to exploit this resource. A new study shows that this archipelago alone could generate about 35.000 terawatt-hours (TWh) of solar energy per year. To understand, it is more than the current global electricity production, which is around 30.000 TWh per year.
Floating Solar at the Equator: An Ocean of Opportunity
While most of the world's oceans are prone to storms, some regions of the equator are surprisingly calm. This means we wouldn't need expensive engineering structures to protect the floating solar panels. The high resolution heat maps reveal that the Indonesian archipelago and West Equatorial Africa near Nigeria have the greatest potential for these overwater solar facilities.
We look to the future: By 2050, the global economy will be largely decarbonised and electrified, supported by huge amounts of solar and wind energy. But countries like the Nigeria el 'Indonesia, with their high population densities, may have limited space for solar energy. That's where floating solar power comes into play.
Not to mention that this type of plant can also be positioned on lakes and internal tanks: this is why it has such high potential, and is already growing rapidly.
A bright future, despite the challenges
Like any new technology, of course, there are challenges ahead. Salt corrosion and marine fouling are legitimate concerns – however, with innovation and research, these challenges can be overcome. And, despite these hurdles, floating solar power could become a key component of the energy mix for countries with access to calm equator seas.
Indonesia is not just a tropical paradise but a living laboratory for the future. This archipelago nation could very well become the beacon guiding the rest of the world into an era of clean energy, where the sun definitively lights the path to sustainability.