Location: Anhui Province, China. Company: Sungrow Power Supply. Power: 40 MW.
An offshore platform for photovoltaics has been developed in Belgium
The modular design is reminiscent of a semi-submersible drilling rig, which is used when conducting geological exploration work in the open sea: the “deck” with solar panels installed on it is supported by four supports, to which pontoons filled with water are attached from below. After the platform is launched into the sea, the pontoons will be anchored to the seabed, while the “deck” will remain above the water at a height of several meters, which will minimize the risk of waves hitting the solar panels. The module resembles a float that maintains buoyancy when immersed in liquid. Benefits of the technology include local production of renewable energy and the ability to install panels on offshore wind farms. The proposed solar park is said to be relatively easy to install, using already installed wind turbine cables to transmit electricity to shore.
Four years ago, the partners launched the VLAIO-funded research project MPVAQUA (Marine Photovoltaic Aquaculture) together with the University of Ghent. Interest from the PV sector in offshore sites is driven by land shortages coupled with the need for local power generation and the accelerating transition to alternative energy.
Photovoltaic technologies are developing faster than ever: the 1 TW installed capacity milestone was reached in 2022, the demand for local renewable energy sources is increasing sharply, and the complementarity of wind and solar technologies is confirmed worldwide. As authorities allow multi-use concessions and grid infrastructure shows good potential for mixed use, adding solar panels to existing and future offshore wind installations offers the opportunity to generate large amounts of additional renewable energy.
“Just as we have seen wind power move from land to offshore, we are seeing the entire energy system expand towards offshore locations. Along with offshore energy islands, interconnectors and potential energy storage solutions, we believe floating PV systems have an important role to play in accelerating the clean energy transition,” said Philippe Van Trouy, CEO of Tractebel.