Have you ever dreamed of an endless field of solar panels, drifting over the waves like an underwater carpet? We’re not quite there yet, but on August 24, 2017, a pilot project will take place that could make this dream come true in the near future. The North Sea Energy Alliance (NSEA) has granted a million-dollar grant to develop floating solar panels that glide over waves ‘like a carpet’ in order to learn more about wave energy production and explore further possibilities of wave energy generation systems. The catch?
A Floating Solar Park
RWE will invest in a pilot project involving floating solar technology in the North Sea, as part of a wider collaboration focused on developing “floating solar parks.” The company will install a pilot project called Merganser in waters off Ostend, Belgium, with a capacity of 0.5-a megawatt peak, or MWp. RWE said Merganser would be the first offshore pilot project for Dutch-Norwegian firm SolarDuck earlier this week. Merganser would provide both RWE and SolarDuck with “important first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world.” The project’s learnings would enable the technology to be commercialized sooner from 2023 on, the company said.
SolarDuck’s Technology is Intended
RWE’s and SolarDuck’s joint venture design allows solar panels to float meters above the water and ride waves like a carpet. The long-term goal of this partnership is for SolarDuck’s technology to be used in a demo project at the yet-to-be-developed Hollandse Kust West offshore wind farm, which RWE is currently tendering for. In the eyes of RWE, offshore floating solar can be an efficient way to generate electricity from the ocean. RWE is not the only utility using wind and solar energy. Also in the North Sea, the Hollandse Kust (Noord) wind farm will deploy a floating solar technology demonstration. CrossWind is a joint venture between Eneco and Shell working on Hollandse Kust (Noord).
The CEO of EDP, Said Last Week That The Hybridization of Electricity From Water, Sun
Portugal’s EDP opened a 5 MW floating solar farm in Alqueva last month. “The largest solar park in Europe” contains nearly 12,000 photovoltaic panels. EDP said that a large portion of the energy will come from solar power and hydroelectricity from Alqueva Dam. There are plans to install a battery storage system as well. Each of these projects is an example of “hybridization,” whereby a number of renewable energy technologies and systems are combined on one site. Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, the EDP CEO, said last week that hybridizing electricity from water, sun, wind, and storage represents a “logical path to growth. “EDP continues to invest in hybridization because it makes sense, he said.