Offshore floating solar pilot installed

SolarDuck’s floating solar pilot project will be tested in the North Sea (Source: SolarDuck)

 

Rotterdam-based SolarDuck and German energy major, RWE, have successfully installed a 0.5 MW-peak offshore floating solar pilot at the North Sea Farmers offshore test site in the Dutch North Sea.

The pilot installation, called Merganser, will be used to test and demonstrate the unit’s structural, mooring, and electrical design and gain knowledge on the manufacture, assembly, installation, and maintenance of large-scale floating solar installations.

The pilot, located about 12km off the coast of Scheveningen, consists of six interconnected triangular platforms that can withstand extreme offshore conditions. The floating platforms have been connected to the mooring system in 20m-deep waters. 

SolarDuck’s platform, certified by Bureau Veritas, is designed to float several metres above the sea, following waves like a carpet, the company explained. In this way, critical components can be kept dry, clean and stable while ensuring the structural integrity of the semi-submersible floating structure.

RWE Offshore Wind CEO, Sven Utermöhlen, said: "Standalone or also in combination with offshore wind farms, offshore floating solar could open up further offshore renewable energy opportunities – especially for countries with lower average wind speeds but lots of sunlight. With Merganser, we are gaining unique insights into first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world."

Over the next two years, Merganser will be monitored remotely using more than 180 sensors. Separately, a Dutch independent institute for applied research, Deltares, will support an extensive monitoring campaign relating to the ecological impact of the installation.

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