- RWE will invest in SolarDuck’s Merganser Offshore Floating PV project as a pilot demonstration facility
- Learnings from this 500 kW project will enable the 2 companies to explore offshore floating PV projects globally
- RWE has now added SolarDuck as a partner for its HKW offshore wind farm bid wherein it plans to integrate offshore PV with integrated storage
German energy group RWE is partnering with the Netherlands based offshore PV company SolarDuck to jointly explore offshore floating solar PV technology globally, starting with a 500 kW pilot project in the North Sea.
The 500 kW nameplate capacity of the Merganser project is expected to be installed off the coast of Ostend in the Belgian North Sea in 2023.
It will be a precursor for a larger demonstration project, the 1.4 GW Dutch offshore wind farm Hollande Kust West (HKW) that RWE is bidding for and has now included SolarDuck as exclusive provider of offshore floating solar PV technology with integrated storage. If the duo wins this project, they will integrate a 5 MW offshore floating solar plant with integrated storage into the offshore wind farm.
The duo envisions solar panels floating in the space between the wind turbines, making use of ocean space and which will of course save space on land.
SolarDuck’s technology comprising a ‘unique’ triangular-shaped platform having the world’s ‘1st’ certification for offshore floating solar by Bureau Veritas, can float several meters above the water and follow the waves like a carpet hence keeping critical electrical components dry, clean and stable. It allows for safe operations and needs minimal maintenance, explained RWE. SolarDuck is a spin-off from the largest shipbuilder in the Netherlands, Damen Shipyards.
“We are very keen to further explore the potential of offshore floating solar together with our partner SolarDuck. For countries with lower mean wind speeds but high solar irradiation, this opens up attractive opportunities. With the SolarDuck pilot we are gaining experience with a highly innovative offshore floating solar technology,” said CEO Wind Offshore of RWE Renewables, Sven Utermöhlen. “We want to contribute to accelerate the energy transition, have a positive impact on marine ecology and help to integrate energy systems.”
Learnings from the pilot will enable faster commercialization of the technology globally from 2023 onward, they added.
SolarDuck is currently testing various types of solar modules with varying types of backsheets for its technology leveraging its partnership with Astronergy/Chint Solar and Endurans Solar.