A Belgian consortium has been set up to develop floating solar technology as a green energy source of the future. Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering NV (DEME), Tractebel, Jan De Nul, Soltech and Ghent University believe that photovoltaic (PV) panels located at existing offshore sites focusing on aquaculture and wind power could provide a new renewable energy source whilst also making good use of available space.
PV technology in an offshore context is a logical next step, the companies said, following the development of floating PV technology on lakes, reservoirs, lagoons and other sheltered waters. Factors including land scarcity, large-scale standardisation and a formidable consultation process relating to shoreside projects are likely to support the growth of offshore solar power where there is more space.
Partners in the consortium bring together a formidable skill set. Tractebel has expertise in PV technology and offshore engineering; DEME and Jan De Nul are specialists in marine operations and wind farm development; Soltech is a solar PV panel expert; and Ghent University is one of the leading centres of expertise in offshore engineering, aquaculture and ecosystem research.
The project has a budget of about EUR 2 million as a result of industry and government support.