Power generation on water – a fascinating idea! Floating Solar B.V. from the Netherlands is a pioneer in the field of floating solar panels. Managing Director Arnoud Van Druten and his dedicated team have been involved with generating solar power on water since 2015. Floating solar is a business model that is becoming interesting to more and more potential customers.
The transition to clean energy is well under way. The Netherlands has stipulated that at least 16 percent of its energy production has to come from renewable sources by 2023. Floating Solar B.V. helps companies and municipalities meet this goal of eliminating the dependence on fossil fuels. Their first customers were water treatment companies. Generally, any company or municipality that has its own body of water can profit from floating solar panels.
Floating Solar B.V. has almost completed a 23-megawatt PV plant which will be able to provide about 9,000 families with power. This extremely exciting project will be monitored by a Solar-Log™ system. After an extensive market analysis, Arnoud Van Druten made an informed decision to select the Solar-Log™ monitoring solution as a high-end product. Solar-Log™ was once again selected based on its demonstrated ability to handle very special challenges.
There are many good arguments for installing PV plants on water. Photovoltaic plants on water can produce up to 30 percent more power than conventional PV plants, resulting in higher yields. This quickly helps compensate for the approximately 15 percent higher investment compared to conventional parts. Due to turning and tilting effects, the sun's rays are collected from sunrise to sunset. Floating Solar B.V. has a patent for this Optimal Solar Tracking (OST) solution. "Our panels can be compared to a catamaran," says Arnoud Van Druten. He then points to the extremely stable, floating, underlying construction.
Worries that such a system could change the water temperature and thus harm the environment are unjustified. Because of the open structure of the floating PV panels, heat is immediately dissipated. That means the water temperature is not affected and there is no negative impact on the ecosystem.
Floating Solar is a joint venture of Sun Projects B.V. and Dromec B.V. Both companies are active in the field of renewable energies. Sun Projects is the largest supplier of solar plants in the Netherlands. Dromec is active in the field of wind turbines and maritime winches.
Very special technical and safety-relevant requirements need to be followed for solar plants on bodies of water. For example, the insulation of modules and cables must meet the highest standards. After all, they must remain robust for many years. The floating solar panels are firmly anchored down to have enough flexibility to turn towards the direction of the sun. They also have to be stable enough not to sink or overturn. Plant maintenance has to be done by boat, however, drones can also be used. There are already a number of off-shore solar plants around the world. It is estimated that these off-shore plants have an output of about 1200 MW. Floating energy generation has a great future, especially in countries with a high number of water areas.