A floating solar island archipelago

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A drinking water treatment plant owned by Netherlands-based water utility PWN – Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland – will host 15 floating solar plants with a combined capacity of 25 MW.

The installations are being deployed by Floating Solar B.V. at PWN’s treatment plant in Andijk, in the province of North Holland. The plant produces around 120 million liters of drinking water daily.

Floating Solar will use 73,500 solar panels distributed over 15 140 m-diameter circular islands. Construction of the first three installations has already begun, with completion scheduled by November.

The project suffered a minor delay, said Floating Solar, because of Dutch regulations relating to birds which stipulate there is only a three-month period at this time of year in which works can be carried out on water surfaces of that kind.

The solar installations will be based on the company’s tracking system technology, which ensures they rotate towards the sun during the day. The system is based on an algorithm said to be able to gradually adjust panel position and increase system yield by around 30%. “The specially engineered floating structure has been successfully tested under the most severe near-shore conditions,” the company said.

Floating Solar is a joint venture between Sun Projects B.V. and Dromec B.V.

“Our goal is to become energy neutral,” said PWN director Joke Cuperus. “For this we want to generate 100% of the energy consumption sustainably.”

The project was launched last year through a European tender, the company added.

The water-rich Netherlands is seeing strong development of utility scale floating PV. In February the Dutch Foundation for Applied Water Research – STOWA – published guidelines and tools for floating PV plant developers.