United Nations
Partnerships with SIDS for floating solar energy at sea
by Swimsol GmbH (Private sector)
Swimsol GmbH commits to seek new partnerships with Small Island Development States in order to advance floating solar energy at sea, which will make clean energy possible for small island beyond the limitations of land. With this commitment, we are using the ocean to create sustainable economic benefits for SIDS and to foster a blue economy. Our commitment will also reduce CO2 as well as fossil fuel shipments, thereby helping to counter ocean acidification and climate change. Through this, we strive to support SIDS to achieve SDG 14.

Currently, many small islands depend on expensive and polluting electricity produced by diesel generators. The CO2 emissions contribute to climate change and ocean acidification, which in turn affects these islands. Moreover, the large number of diesel shipments bears the risk of oil spills, with catastrophic consequences - both large-scale as well as on a micro-level during the distribution within the country.

Solar energy holds tremendous potential as a clean and renewable alternative. However, to produce larger amounts of solar energy, a lot of physical space for solar panels is required. Many islands suffer from severe land scarcity, which limits the advancement of solar energy. Moreover, existing rooftops are often small, dispersed and not ideally suited, and larger land areas are sometimes covered by vegetation, clearance of which should be avoided.

On the ocean, however, space is nearly unlimited. Swimsol developed the worlds first floating solar system for the sea, called SolarSea. The technology makes it possible to use the vast ocean surface for solar panels, and has a higher energy output than land-based solar systems due to the cooling effect of the ocean. It can be dimensioned to meet the energy demand of an island, thereby helping whole islands to switch to renewable energy at once rather than implementing dispersed small-scale systems.

The technology is currently implemented in Maldives, where the oldest commercial installation is 2.5 years old. In the Maldives, with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, we developed a model where we fully cover the investment cost of such a system. Moreover, the energy is provided at a price that guaranteed to be less expensive than diesel energy at any point in time, thereby generating net savings from day one.

Now we want to scale the technology in Maldives as well as take it to new Small Island Development States. We are therefore going to conduct research trips, determine feasibility, and create new partnerships with Small Island Development States in order to implement floating solar energy projects with the goal of achieving SDG 14.

As a next step, we are looking to build a 20 platform installation in a new location, that will generate enough energy for around 500 households and thereby save more than 200,000 liters of diesel every year. We have our own network of private investors for financing, and we will seek co-funding from donors and development banks.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Management of ship-based pollution and/or port waste management
OTHER POLLUTANTS (please specify)
  • Cleaner production
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • CO2 emission reductions (energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.)
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from marine renewable energy
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Data access and sharing
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
December 2017
Research trip
December 2017
Feasibility assessment
December 2019
Financing proposal
December 2020
Implementation of floating solar energy system
Financing (in USD)
1,500,000 USD
Basic information
Time-frame: June 2017 - December 2020
Small Island Development States
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
  • North Atlantic
  • North Pacific
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Small Island Development States
Contact information
Martin Putschek, Managing Director, office@swimsol.com, +4369914180812
Vienna, Austria
Other SDGs
United Nations