Norwegian oil group Equinor and Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem, which is 30%-owned by Italian energy giant Eni, said on Friday that they have signed an agreement to jointly develop a “floating solar panel park technological solution for near-coastal applications.”
Future projects will be based on a technology developed by Moss Maritime, a unit of Saipem that provides engineering services to the offshore oil and gas industry, as well as the renewable energy sector. The solution is a modularized system that has been designed for easy fabrication, transportation and onsite installation, the companies said, without providing any additional technical details.
The technology could be applied in areas in which there are no large water reservoirs, as well as in very windy areas, according to Saipem. “The ambition is to be one of the leading providers of near coastal and offshore solutions for floating solar panel parks,” the company said.
Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, announced plans to enter the solar energy business in February 2017, when it launched a $197 million fund dedicated to renewables. At the time, it rebranded as Equinor to reflect its transition into clean energy.
Saipem recently expanded into the renewable energy business. In November, it secured two contracts worth €750 million to build single wind farms in the United Kingdom and Taiwan.
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One possible snag for ooen-sea solar is that large numbers of seabirds will find the panels splendid places to take a break from hunting fish. I suppose the copious guano with which they will pay fir the service can be scraped off by cleaning robots and sold as fertiliser.
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