SolarDuck, RWE partner on floating solar technology pilot in North Sea

July 19, 2022
RWE and SolarDuck have signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks at sea.

Offshore staff

Essen/Nijmegen — RWE and the Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck have signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks at sea.

To accelerate the learnings on SolarDuck’s floating solar technology, RWE will invest in a first offshore pilot in the North Sea. 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 into its bid with a combination of offshore floating solar with integrated storage solutions.

The offshore floating solar technology, as developed by SolarDuck, was designed to provide an answer to increasing land scarcity for the generation of renewable energy. The integration of offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm is a more efficient use of ocean space for energy generation (using the space between the wind turbines) and allows for synergies with regard to the construction and maintenance of the multi-source renewable energy plant. The company said the result is a more balanced production profile due to the complementary nature of wind and solar resources.

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 triangular-shaped platform, which has received the world´s first certification for offshore floating solar by Bureau Veritas, is designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet. Therefore, it keeps critical electrical components dry, clean and stable as well as secures the integrity of the semisubmersible structure while enabling safe operations and minimal maintenance, the comapny said.

Offshore pilot in the North Sea

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.

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, and these learnings will enable a faster commercialization of the technology from 2023 onward.

Offshore floating solar parks

RWE has selected SolarDuck in its bid for the Dutch tender for HKW VII (system integration). A winning bid will realize the integration of an offshore floating solar plant at pre-commercial scale with 5 MWp combined with energy storage solutions into the offshore wind farm. 

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 standalone and hybrid.