Offshore Solar Platforms for North Sea
A consortium of DEME, Tractebel, Jan De Nul Group, Soltech and Ghent University has launched a project to develop floating solar technology. The partners strongly believe that solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in offshore waters are an essential future green energy source. Combined in the same location with aquaculture and offshore wind power, this technology would allow for more efficient use of available space.
Solar PV technology costs are constantly decreasing, and the consortium believes an evolution towards high-wave offshore applications is a logical next step after fresh water floating PV on lakes and dams and low-wave offshore applications in lagoons and other sheltered environments. Factors such as land scarcity, large scale standardization and “not in my back yard” considerations are expected to support the growth of the offshore solar energy market as they did for the wind energy.
The consortium, led by Tractebel, was set up in the framework of the Flemish Blue Cluster and is strongly supported by VLAIO. For this initiative, the budget of about €2 million ($2.2 million) is a result of joined forces between industry and government support. The partners of the consortium are the first in Belgium to explore this offshore solar solution. Their ambition is also to be the first to realise offshore solar farms in the Belgian North Sea - eventually in combination with wind farms or aquaculture. In this way, the partners position themselves in this new, fast-evolving market.
Another floating solar project is underway in Europe with researchers planning to recycle CO2 in Floating Methanol Power Plants.