The Alqueva Floating Power Plant is solar farm that sits upon the waters near the Alqueva dam. Manufactured by the public utility EDP in Portugal, the 12,000-paneled farm spans the area equivalent to four soccer fields and has peak capacity of 5 megawatts, enough to generate electricity to meet the needs of 30 percent of Europe's population. EDP says it plans to expand its capacity to 70 megawatts. The Alqueva Floating Power Plant is not the only one of its kind. Others include one in Oakville, California; at the Alto Rabagão reservoir in Portugal; in Thailand; and in Dezhou Dingzhuang, China. With land become increasingly scarce or expensive, local bodies of water could offer a solution, though floating panels are 30 percent more expensive relative to their land-based panels. A study suggests floating farms come with the added benefit of reducing the evaporation of the water source beneath it by 42 percent, and the water naturally keeps the panels cool, thereby increasing efficiency. The emergence of floating solar farms is happening amidst the cost of solar technology falling nearly 90 percent over the past decade and solar power generation skyrocketing by a factor of 20.

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