Netherlands-based start-up Oceans of Energy has announced it will deploy a 3 MW off-shore floating PV array off the Belgian coast in the North Sea.
The plant, which the company describes as a full-scale demonstrator, will be co-located with an unspecified wind farm. “This project will bring the cost to €0.15 per kWh,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine. “In future projects, we expect to deliver clean energy everywhere in the world for less than €0.05 per kWh.”
The project is being developed under the umbrella of the EU-funded European SCalable Offshore Renewable Energy Sources (EU-SCORES), which also includes the deployment of a 1.2 MW wave energy array in Portugal that is co-located with a floating wind farm. “The full-scale demonstrations are intended to prove how the increased power output and capacity installed per square kilometer will reduce the amount of marine space needed, thereby leaving more space for aquaculture, fisheries, shipping routes and environmentally protected zones,” the company said in a statement.
“We have a shortlist of panels that we tested in the last two years at sea and that performed well. We will likely select one or more of these for the 3 MW offshore solar system,” the spokesperson went on to say.
Oceans of Energy unveiled in July details of the first 18 months of operation of its 50 kW off-shore pilot PV project in the North Sea. The 50 kW modular PV system started operating at the end of November 2019. The plant is planned to be initially expanded to 1 MW, and to 100 MW at a later stage. The installation relies on standard solar modules.
The company's CEO and founder, Allard Van Hoeken, told pv magazine in December 2019 that solar at sea could end up being cheaper than offshore wind once the technology was scaled up. He believes that offshore PV could help the Netherlands cover 50% of its energy demand, mainly by deploying solar close to existing or planned offshore wind projects.
According to a recent report from DNV GL, the North Sea may host around 100 MW of floating solar capacity by 2030, and 500 MW by 2035. The LCOE of offshore PV systems is currently estimated at around €354/MWh but in the future it should be close to that of ground-mounted solar parks.
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