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Ecological impacts of floating photovoltaics in lake ecosystems

Project description

The environmental impact of solar energy on water

Solar power has a bright future. As countries across Europe increasingly turn to renewable energy technologies, photovoltaic systems are proving to be among the most popular. Solar panels can be placed anywhere there is sun, like in fields and on rooftops. More recently, floating solar panels have been placed atop bodies of water. These floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems are expected to develop rapidly. In this context, the EU-funded ECLIPSE project will explore the effects of FPV on lake ecosystems. FPV devices are expected to drastically change abiotic conditions in lakes (light arrival, water mixing and oxygenation), thereby potentially altering biodiversity in these ecosystems.


The need to mitigate the ecological effects of climate change is accelerating the development of renewable energy technologies. Floating photovoltaic systems (FPV) is an important advance of the energy industry and is spreading fast across the globe. A key challenge remains to ensure that climate mitigation strategies are not triggering novel, unexpected and counterproductive impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems that can counterbalance their ecological benefits. FPV can affect lakes’ ecosystem services through abrupt changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning through changes in abiotic conditions in lakes (e.g. light arrival, water mixing, oxygenation) that can ultimately alter the composition of plant and animal communities, with cascading effects on ecosystem functioning. To date, however, empirical assessments of these impacts are still lacking. ECLIPSE aims to provide an integrative assessment of the ecological impacts of FPV on lakes ecosystems by (1) measuring the in-situ impacts of FPV on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; (2) experimentally quantifying the context-dependency of these effects; (3) predicting the impacts of FPV on lakes under climate change scenarios; and (4) providing evidence-based guidelines for FPV deployment. An innovative combination of methods will be used to quantify food web architecture (stable isotope analyses) and ecosystem functioning (lake metabolism and carbon balance) incorporating in situ lake monitoring, mesocosm experiments, and ecological modeling. ECLIPSE is highly innovative as it will answer an applied question with ecological and socio-economic implications providing fundamental knowledge on ecosystem responses to abrupt environmental changes.


Net EU contribution
€ 264 693,60
31062 Toulouse Cedex 9

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Occitanie Midi-Pyrénées Haute-Garonne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Partners (2)