Researchers at the Norwegian institute Sintef are testing a special floating structure that Equinor wants to deploy in offshore waters. The structure is built with an anchoring system that is claimed to give the installation enough freedom to cope with the waves.
Italy’s Saipem is planning what could be the world’s largest offshore PV plant — a 100 MW facility located off the coast of the Italian northern region of Emilia-Romagna. The project, whose approval process began two years ago, is expected to become operational by the end of 2025.
Dutch startup SolarDuck has developed a triangular structure for floating PV that resembles an offshore oil platform. CEO Koen Burgers told pv magazine that it keeps panels more than 3 meters above the water surface, and claimed that the structure can handle waves and dynamic loads. It will be used in a Dutch pilot project from April.
A simulation by Utrecht University researchers indicated North Sea PV projects may perform better than a ground-mounted solar generator in the Netherlands. Offshore installations could generate 12.96% more power per year, according to the findings of the study, with the sea acting as a cooling system.
Dutch research center TNO is setting up a test facility for floating PV plants in Oostvoornse, where it will analyze the impact of wind and waves on floating structures and module yield. TNO Senior Project Manager Jan Kroon told pv magazine that it will assess module damage and the impact of waves on light absorption. It has already found that the ratio between wave-height and wave-length is a key factor in mismatch losses, while noting that optimizers and micro-inverters on panels could mitigate losses.
The CEO of Norwegian floating solar company Ocean Sun has spoken to pv magazine about his company’s innovative design for floating PV projects in near-shore locations and semi-sheltered waters. A pilot project built in the Philippines last year, said Børge Bjørneklett, is providing better-than-expected power output.
The 8.5 kW pilot project, which was launched in February 2018, will soon be expanded to 50 kW. The Dutch consortium behind the installation eventually plans to expand it to 1 MW and then up to 100 MW at a later stage. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) provided financial backing for the project.
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