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Floating solar company SolarDuck completed the installation of its offshore floating solar (OFPV) plant Merganser. Supported by energy company RWE, the pilot project aims to test and demonstrate the structural, mooring, and electrical designs and acquire knowledge about manufacturing, assembly, offshore installation, and maintenance methodologies required for large-scale commercial deployment of OFPV.

Merganser has a capacity of 0.5 megawatt peak (MWp) and is located in the Dutch North Sea, approximately 12 kilometers off the coast of Scheveningen. The scalable concept consists of six interconnected platforms that can withstand extreme offshore conditions. The floating platforms were successfully connected to the mooring system at a 20-meter water depth. RWE will continue to provide its offshore know-how and technical support to the pilot project.

Accelerating OFPV deployment

Taking solar farms offshore requires technology that is able to withstand rough offshore conditions. SolarDuck´s triangular-shaped platform is designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet. In this way, the design is keeping critical components dry, clean and stable, as well as securing the structural integrity of the semi-submersible floating structure. The design recently received the world’s first certification for OFPV by Bureau Veritas.

Koen Burgers, CEO of SolarDuck: “The successful installation of Merganser is proof of the dedication of SolarDuck’s team to electrify the world with offshore floating solar. However, we are not doing this alone. Our project partner, RWE, is a supporter of our technology and vision, in addition to other partners such as TNO, TU Delft, MARIN, and Deltares. Together with numerous supply chain partners, including Damen Shipyards, TMA, and Norsk Hydro, we have turned hard work into a positive change for the energy space.”

The combination of RWE´s leading global market position in offshore wind and SolarDuck´s technological ingenuity sets the perfect base for accelerating the deployment of OFPV. Over the coming two years, Merganser will be monitored remotely with its more than 180 sensors fitted to monitor structural loads, connector and mooring loads and electrical performance, among other important performance criteria. Further to the above, Deltares – a Dutch independent institute for applied research – will support an extensive monitoring campaign on the ecological impact of OFPV.