German energy firm RWE and the Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks at sea. RWE will invest in the first offshore pilot project as a part of the collaboration focused on the development of floating solar technology.
The project is a first step in the collaboration and lays the foundation for a larger demonstration project at the Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West (HKW). RWE is tendering for this project and has included SolarDuck in its bid with a highly innovative combination of offshore floating solar with integrated storage solutions.
To accelerate the development of the technology, RWE will invest in SolarDuck’s full-scale offshore pilot called ‘Merganser’ with a nameplate capacity of 0.5 MWp in 2023. The Merganser is expected to be installed off the coast of Ostend in the Belgian North Sea and will be SolarDuck’s first offshore pilot following the successful deployment of an inland pilot in the Netherlands last year. Merganser will provide RWE and SolarDuck with important first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world. These learnings will enable faster commercialization of the technology from 2023 onwards.
Taking solar farms offshore requires a technology that is able to withstand rough offshore conditions, including high waves, strong winds, and a corrosive environment. SolarDuck’s unique, triangular-shaped platform is designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet.
The integration of offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm is a more efficient use of ocean space for energy generation and allows for synergies with regard to the construction and maintenance of the multi-source renewable energy plant. The result is a more balanced production profile due to the complementary nature of wind and solar resources.
Further building on the collaboration with project ‘Merganser’ and HKW, RWE and SolarDuck will explore new opportunities with the objective to develop commercial offshore floating solar parks, both stand-alone and hybrid. The combination of RWE’s leading global market position and SolarDuck’s technological and commercial ingenuity sets the perfect base for accelerating the deployment of this high-potential technology.