The promised land of floating PV now has guidelines for proper deployment

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The Dutch Foundation for Applied Water Research – STOWA – has published guidelines and tools for developers interested in floating PV projects across the water-rich Netherlands.

The chief document is STOWA’s Guide for the licensing of floating solar parks on water, which provides recommendations for securing permits from water authorities, describes conditions under which it permissible to place solar panels on water and outlines the possible effects on water ecosystems.

The guide is supplemented by two tools: the Stroomschema helps developers through the permitting process, and the Analysetool Zon op Water, examines the effects of floating solar projects on water quality and quantity and the ecosystem.

The Netherlands’ rich promise

The latter is based on a three-dimensional water quality model applied to several fictitious water systems, STOWA said. “The effect on the water quality is determined, among other things, on the basis of the size of the water surface, the translucence of the solar panels and the percentage of water that is covered with the solar panels,” the agency said. By introducing area properties and panel characteristics, the user can quickly gain an insight into the effects of a solar array on water quality, STOWA added.

The guide is part of a feasibility study being carried out by the Zon op Water consortium, an initiative of Dutch water management agency the Rijkswaterstaat which STOWA participates in and that is controlled by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and the Solar Energy Application Community (SEAC).

The Netherlands offers huge potential for floating PV as it has approximately 52,000 hectares of shallow inland water.

The Rijkswaterstaat announced in March 2017 it intended to make water surfaces and other land under its control available for the installation of renewable energy plants. Last week, the agency and SEAC announced completion of the country’s first PV highway noise barrier.