German floating PV plant works better than expected


From pv magazine Germany.

Floating PV systems are still relatively new in Germany and the largest, a 750 kW facility, was installed a year ago by gas company Erdgas Südwest and gravel plant operator Armin Ossola on Lake Maiwald, in Renchen, southern Germany. A year on, the results have been better than predicted.

The 2,300 solar modules on the lake produced 860 MWh of solar power in the first year of operation, as reported by Erdgas, more than the 800 MWh anticipated. The gravel company beat predictions it would consume two-thirds of the electricity generated at the lake by instead using 75% of the yield to operate heavy equipment in the adjacent gravel works, thus reducing electricity costs 10%.

The plant also withstood extreme weather conditions with the modules surviving a stormy February after last year’s hot summer. In February, wind speeds of more than 100 kilometers per hour merely bent the inverter roof, with the problem quickly repaired.

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“It was the right decision to invest in this project,” said Armin Ossola, who spent around €1 million on the project. “In addition to the positive economic and ecological aspects, we made a name for ourselves with the plant as an environmentally-friendly, innovative company.”

Boris Heller, head of project development at Erdgas Südwest, said the utility had fielded many inquiries about similar projects in recent months and has developed more floating sites which can be expected to take shape “soon.”

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