SolarDuck Secures Funding to Advance Floating Solar Tech
Renewable power startup SolarDuck is moving ahead with R&D for its floating solar technology with a new funding round from a consortium of public and private green investors.
Katapult Ocean, Green Tower, Energy Transition Fund Rotterdam and Invest-NL have invested a combined $15 million in SolarDuck's standalone floating offshore solar technology. The company's floating panel arrays can be integrated into offshore wind farm developments, but are also designed to work on their own in wind-poor, sun-rich waters. This enables commercial-scale clean power from offshore sites in parts of the world where offshore wind is not a viable option. It could potentially displace coal or petroleum-fired power generation in some markets.
SolarDuck wants to deploy one gigawatt worth of floating solar capacity by 2030, and it says that it already has a project pipeline totaling 3.5 gigawatts at locations around the world. Work is under way on a small demonstrator project for RWE's Hollandse Kust West VII offshore wind farm in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. An array of six connected floating platforms will support 520 kWp of solar power capacity. The platform structure will keep the panels well above the surface, and it is designed to handle 50-year North Sea storms with wave heights of up to 45 feet.
SolarDuck's investors with a floating solar array (SolarDuck)
The scale of the demonstrator illustrates how new this market is, and how far out on the leading edge SolarDuck's product is: though the installation is pilot-size, it will still be the largest hybrid floating solar plant in the world.
In addition, the company has lined up the first floating offshore solar plant in Japan, in Tokyo Bay, and a project partnership with Malaysia's TNB Renewables.
"SolarDuck is introducing a new asset class of energy generation. With demand increasing, offshore floating solar offers real promise for the decarbonization of our energy supply," said CEO and co-founder Koen Burgers.
The market agrees, even in tough times for raising funding for renewables, according to financial advisor Impulse.
"Current market conditions regarding funding are quite challenging, but due to SolarDuck’s easy-to-use and promising technology, their experienced team and their strong traction in the market, it has actually been relatively easy to fund their next phase of growth and expansion," said Impulse managing partner Feddo Tamminga.