Dutch Offshore Solar Farm Planned
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) is supporting the development of an offshore floating solar farm by a consortium including start-up Oceans of Energy, the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, TNO, Marin, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and Utrecht University.
The project is expected to take three years, and the prototype, to be located around 15 kilometers (nine miles) off the coast near The Hague, is expected to have a 15 percent higher power yield than land-based photovoltaic solar arrays.
Floating solar farms don't take up valuable land in heavily populated areas, can reduce evaporation from reservoirs and the cooler air at the water's surface helps to maximize cell performance.
The consortium says that the technology has the potential to be used in existing offshore wind farms to take advantage of the calmer water surface between the wind turbines and the existing power networks.
Oceans of Energy founder and chief executive Allard van Hoeken said: “Solar farms are already being deployed at inshore water bodies such as lakes, but a project at sea has never been done before, as this is much more challenging. With the competences of the project partners and building further on the expertise of the Dutch offshore industry, we are convinced that we will be successful.”
In early January, another Dutch consortium, which is also being supported by the RVO, announced a project to develop floating solar panels for inland waters.
Last year, the largest floating photovoltaic solar power facility in the world was connected to a local power grid in China. Located in the city of Huainan in the Anhui province, the 40-megawatt facility was created by PV inverter manufacturer Sungrow Power Supply. Before that, operation of a similar 20MW floating facility commenced in the same area.
In the U.S., the San Diego County Water Authority is considering a 6MW floating solar facility on the surface of the agency’s only reservoir. The 20-acre installation proposed for the Olivenhain Reservoir near Escondido would be the first in Southern California, although construction of several floating facilities are underway in Northern California.
The Kyocera Corporation in Japan has announced that it will build a 13.7MW floating solar facility on the Yamakura Dam reservoir. It is due for completion this year.
Several countries including Singapore, Indonesia and Australia also have plans underway for the technology.