Some of the world’s biggest power companies joined a new group aiming to underpin a massive ramp-up of floating solar – now widely seen as one of the energy transition’s hottest emerging technologies.

International giants including EDF, Equinor, Statkraft and EDP are among a floating solar joint industry partnership set up by technical advisory group DNV GL, which cited estimates that deploying panels on inland man-made waters alone has a potential to add four terawatts of power capacity worldwide.

The number of big names lined up to join the JIP shows the swelling interest in the technology, which is increasingly being seen on lakes and reservoirs around the world, and has ambitions for deployments in oceans with ‘high wave’ systems that can operate at sea.

DNV GL said setting a first recommended practice for the industry would help “investors, regulators and other stakeholders to have confidence in planned projects and to enforce relevant requirements”, removing a potential roadblock to the sector’s growth.

There is already 3GW of floating solar around the world, mainly inland, DNV GL estimated.

Equinor has already formed a partnership with energy infrastructure group Saipem to explore near-shore floating solar, and a recent US government study named PV as the technology with the single biggest potential for power generation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toni Weigl, Project Manager at BayWa r.e, said: “As currently the largest floating PV developer in Europe, BayWa r.e. is happy to be part of this consortium to develop this important guideline for the floating PV industry. We think establishing uniform high standards for Floating PV power plants will help to mature and enhance the floating PV industry.”

The group hopes to have the first recommended practice ready by the first quarter of next year.