In the not too distant future, offshore wind is expected to supply a sizeable share of Europe’s electrical energy. But in order to prevent interference, those towers and turbines must be placed some distance apart. There is a substantial amount of open water with day-long solar exposure between them as a result.
A Dutch/Norwegian business called SolarDuck is developing floating solar technology that would create electricity to supplement the production from those offshore wind turbines by floating on the water’s surface. They currently require underwater connections to transport their electricity to land. Why not use that infrastructure to transport solar-generated electricity as well?
Of course. With a 0.5 MW installation dubbed Merganser that will be a component of an offshore wind development in the North Sea near Ostend, Belgium, RWE, one of Germany’s leading utility companies, has entered into an agreement to explore and construct offshore floating solar parks globally. Battery storage will be a part of the project, which will test the new technology before it is developed further and used elsewhere.
This partnership deal quickens the global adoption of this innovative new technology and helps SolarDucks’ offshore floating solar technology move closer to bankable, commercial technology. The need for safe, economical, and sustainable energy necessitates fresh and immediate solutions from the industry in Europe and around the world, according to SolarDuck CEO Koen Burgers. One of the solutions is SolarDuck, which enables solar deployments at sea and so opens up an intriguing new market.
We will be able to implement SolarDuck’s strong technology nearly anyplace in the world by demonstrating it in the abrasive North Sea conditions. We are thrilled to have discovered in RWE a reliable partner who shares our goal of utilizing offshore floating PV to electrify the entire planet. I’m looking forward to our organizations cooperating to make it happen.
The solar panels in the SolarDuck system, according to CNBC , have a design that enables them to float 5 meters above the water and ride waves like a carpet. It has a predicted usable life of 30 years and can resist winds of up to 70 mph. The utilization of the SolarDuck floating solar technology in a larger demonstration project as a component of the Hollandse Kust West offshore wind farm is one of the collaboration’s objectives. According to RWE, incorporating offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm was a more effective way to generate energy from the water.
A NEW TYPE OF FLOATING SOLAR BASED ON THE OCEAN There are more businesses besides SolarDuck developing ocean-based floating solar. According to CNBC , Shell and Eneco are working together to create a consortium that is creating an offshore wind farm that will feature a number of technology demonstrations, such as floating solar, short-term battery storage, and electrolyzed hydrogen. 69 Siemens Gamesa turbines, each with a capacity of 11 MW, will be used at the 759 MW Hollandse Kust North complex, adding up to a total yearly capacity of 3.3 TWh. In 2023, the CrossWind joint venture, which will be situated roughly 18.5 kilometers off the Dutch coast, is anticipated to begin operations.
Offshore floating solar will be one of the pieces of renewable energy that we will need to put together in order to wean ourselves off of our dependency on fossil fuels as we fight to keep the Earth cold enough to sustain human life. The only home we will ever have can be kept livable with a little less screaming at each other and more cooperation.
Do you value the unique reporting and cleantech news coverage on CleanTechnica? Consider becoming an Patreon patron, a CleanTechnica member, supporter, technician, or ambassador.