RWE and the Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks at sea. To accelerate the learnings on SolarDuck’s floating solar technology, RWE will invest in a first offshore pilot in the North Sea. The project is a first step in the collaboration and lays the foundation for a larger demonstration project at the Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West (HKW), so the two companies in a press release.
The pilot is called ‘Merganser’ and has a capacity of 0.5 MWp in 2023. ‘Merganser’ is expected to be installed off the coast of Ostend in the Belgian North Sea and will be SolarDuck’s first offshore pilot following the successful deployment of an inland pilot in the Netherlands last year. The learnings of this pilot will enable faster commercialization of the technology from 2023 onwards.
The offshore floating solar technology, as developed by SolarDuck, establishes a new frontier for solar energy and provides an answer to increasing land scarcity for the generation of renewable energy. The integration of offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm is a more efficient use of ocean space for energy generation (using the space between the wind turbines) and allows for synergies with regard to the construction and maintenance of the multi-source renewable energy plant. The result is a more balanced production profile due to the complementary nature of wind and solar resources.
Taking solar farms offshore requires a technology that is able to withstand rough offshore conditions, including high waves, strong winds, and a corrosive environment. SolarDuck´s unique, triangular-shaped platform, which has received the world´s first certification for offshore floating solar by Bureau Veritas, is designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet. Therefore, keeping critical electrical components dry, clean and stable, as well as securing the integrity of the semi-submersible structure while enabling safe operations and minimal maintenance.
‘Accelerate the energy transition’
Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Wind Offshore of RWE Renewables states: “RWE is constantly looking for innovative ways to further improve the production of renewable energy offshore. We are very keen to further explore the potential of offshore floating solar together with our partner SolarDuck. For countries with lower mean wind speeds but high solar irradiation, this opens up attractive opportunities. With the SolarDuck pilot we are gaining experience with a highly innovative offshore floating solar technology. We want to contribute to accelerate the energy transition, have a positive impact on marine ecology and help to integrate energy systems. Together we can make a real difference using tomorrow’s technology for today’s projects.”
SolarDuck’s CEO Koen Burgers states: “The need for secure, sustainable and affordable energy demands new and immediate answers from the industry in Europe and also globally. SolarDuck is part of this answer, bringing solar energy into its next frontier, the oceans. Showcasing SolarDuck’s robust technology in rough North Sea conditions will enable us to deploy the technology practically anywhere in the world. We are very pleased that we found in RWE a strong partner who shares our vision of electrifying the world with offshore floating solar. I look forward to our organisations working together to achieve just that.”
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