In February 2020, Fraunhofer ISE came out with a BayWa commissioned report to claim there is 56 GW of technical potential for floating PV on lignite opencast mines in Germany, and an economic potential for 2.74 GW (see Study Explores Floating PV Potential In Germany).
Now, the German solar research institute is coming together with utility company RWE and Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg) as project partners to study the feasibility of floating PV technology on an open pit lake in Germany under real conditions.
Over the next 3 years, a pilot floating solar power project on an open pit lake in Germany with different structure designs will be studied by the trio, to ascertain the feasibility of this technology for future projects.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the PV2Float project is expected to throw up insights into technical requirements, economic efficiency, acceptance and ecological impacts of floating PV technology, the trio explained. They are currently in the process of identifying a suitable open pit lake to implement the project.
The demonstration plant will be designed and built by Volta Solar in the form of 4 floating PV installations and a reference installation on land with 150 kW capacity. Modules from Heckert Solar will be deployed, while VDE Renewables has been hired to develop power plant concepts in terms of safety standards.
Along with ascertaining the economic viability of floating PV, Fraunhofer ISE is on board to investigate the regulatory framework for floating OV plants and developing a procedure to involve local stakeholders. It will also conduct durability tests on individual PV components, and also adapting the modules to meet particular requirements of floating applications.
BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and Institute for Water and Soil will monitor the installation’s impact on aquatic ecology. As for RWE, it will conduct a comprehensive potential analysis of floating PV for the German and international markets. RWE is currently working on a 6.1 MW floating PV project in the Netherlands (see RWE Investing In Floating Solar).
“We see great potential for floating PV worldwide. With this research project, we want to deepen our knowledge of the technical possibilities of floating PV systems, such as scalability and energy yield, and transfer the findings to commercial projects,” said Senior Manager Solar Power at RWE Renewables Thorsten Miltkau.