RWE and Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck have signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar farms at sea. To accelerate learning about SolarDuck’s floating solar technology, RWE will invest in a first offshore pilot at sea. North. 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 launching a tender for this project and has included SolarDuck in its bid with a highly innovative combination of offshore floating solar with integrated storage solutions.
Unique Offshore Floating Solar Technology by SolarDuck
Offshore floating solar technology, as developed by SolarDuck, sets a new frontier for solar energy and provides an answer to the growing scarcity of land for renewable energy generation. Integrating offshore floating solar power into an offshore wind farm is a more efficient use of ocean space for power generation (using the space between wind turbines) and allows for synergies with regard to the construction and maintenance of the multi-source renewable energy plant. This results in a more balanced production profile due to the complementarity of wind and solar resources.
Installing offshore solar farms requires technology that can withstand harsh offshore conditions including high waves, high winds and a corrosive environment. SolarDuck’s unique triangular-shaped platform, which received the world’s first certification for offshore floating solar power by Bureau Veritas, is designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet. . Therefore, keeping critical electrical components dry, clean and stable, as well as ensuring the integrity of the semi-submersible structure while allowing for safe operations and minimal maintenance.
Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Wind Offshore of RWE Renewables, says: “RWE is constantly looking for innovative ways to further improve the production of offshore renewable energy. We are very keen to further explore the potential of offshore floating solar power with our partner SolarDuck. For countries where the average wind speed is lower but the insolation is high, this opens up interesting opportunities. With the SolarDuck Pilot, we gain experience with highly innovative offshore floating solar technology. We want to help accelerate the energy transition, have a positive impact on marine ecology and contribute to the integration of energy systems. Together, we can make a real difference by using tomorrow’s technology for today’s projects.
SolarDuck CEO Koen Burgers says: “The need for secure, sustainable and affordable energy demands new and immediate responses from industry in Europe and also globally. SolarDuck is part of that answer, bringing solar power to its next frontier, the oceans. Demonstrating SolarDuck’s robust technology in harsh North Sea conditions will allow us to deploy the technology virtually anywhere in the world. We are very pleased to have found in RWE a strong partner who shares our vision of electrifying the world with offshore floating solar power. I look forward to our organizations working together to achieve this.
RWE to invest in a large-scale offshore pilot project in the North Sea
To accelerate technology development, RWE will invest in SolarDuck’s large-scale offshore pilot called ‘Merganser’ with a nominal capacity of 0.5 MWp in 2023. ‘Merganser’ is expected to be installed offshore Ostend offshore from northern Belgium. 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 significant first-hand experience in one of the world’s most challenging offshore environments. These learnings will enable faster commercialization of the technology from 2023.
SolarDuck Selected to Provide Innovative Solution for RWE’s Hollandse Kust West Offering
SolarDuck’s technology opens a new door for solar energy, also in the harsh environment of the North Sea. RWE therefore selected SolarDuck in its bid for the Dutch tender for HKW VII (system integration). A winning bid will realize the integration of a pre-commercial scale offshore floating solar power plant with 5 MWp combined with innovative energy storage solutions in the offshore wind farm.
Building on the collaboration with the “Merganser” project and HKW, RWE and SolarDuck will explore new opportunities with the aim of developing offshore commercial floating solar farms, both stand-alone and hybrid. The combination of RWE’s global leadership position and SolarDuck’s technological and commercial ingenuity provides the ideal foundation to accelerate the deployment of this high-potential technology.
RWE as a major player in sustainable energy with a strong position in the Netherlands
RWE is one of the world’s leading players in renewable energies and the world’s number two in offshore wind power. The company currently has 18 offshore wind farms in operation; it is building the Sofia (1.4 GW off the UK coast) and Kaskasi (342 MW off the German coast) wind farms, and in total has more than 10 GW of offshore wind farms under development. For many years, RWE has been a partner of the Dutch government in advancing the energy transition by investing in clean energy solutions. The Netherlands is one of the key markets where RWE aims to further expand its renewable energy portfolio. RWE currently operates seven onshore wind farms in the Netherlands with a total installed capacity of over 330 MW (RWE’s pro-rata share), with new ones under development and construction as well as solar farms, including the photovoltaic project floating in Amer. RWE is also working on expanding flexible CO2-free generation capacity and developing onshore and offshore hydrogen projects, such as H2opZee, NortH2 and FUREC to help industry reduce CO2.
SolarDuck Powers the World with Clean Solar Energy Using Cutting-Edge Technology
SolarDuck is a Dutch-Norwegian OFPV company with strong roots in the maritime industry. The company was created as a spin-off from Damen Shipyards (the largest shipbuilder in the Netherlands). Since then, SolarDuck has worked tirelessly towards the vision of “Electrifying the World with OFPV”. SolarDuck generates offshore solar power using its unique state-of-the-art technology, which is fully scalable to meet specific local needs, worldwide. The company offers a sustainable solution to meet the growing global demand for energy, especially where the need for decarbonization and limited land space means the solution lies in ocean space. SolarDuck’s technology offers an attractive value proposition across a wide range of use cases, from islands in the Solar Belt to hybrid offshore parks in the North Sea to the Netherlands.