RWE & SolarDuck to Integrate Floating Solar With a Wind Farm in The North Sea

The solar panels will float above the water and follow the waves like a carpet


German sustainable energy company RWE and offshore solar energy developer SolarDuck inked a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks in the sea and integrate it into an offshore wind farm to create a multi-source renewable energy project.

RWE selected SolarDuck as an exclusive provider for offshore floating solar technology with integrated storage in its bid for the Dutch tender for offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West (HKW VII) for system integration.

A winning bid will realize the integration of an offshore floating solar plant at a pre-commercial scale with 5 MW combined with innovative energy storage solutions into the offshore wind farm.

The offshore floating solar technology developed by SolarDuck is developed with weather-resistant offshore solar technology and provides an answer to increasing land scarcity for renewable energy generation. Integrating offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm would be a more efficient use of ocean space for energy generation (using the space between the wind turbines).

The floating solar technology is equipped to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet, keeping critical electrical components dry, clean, and stable, and securing the integrity of the semi-submersible structures while enabling safe operations and minimal maintenance.

The region around the North Sea is considered one of the most challenging offshore environments. The deployment of offshore solar farms demands technologies that resist rough offshore conditions, including high waves, strong winds, and corrosive conditions.

The unique and triangular design of the offshore solar platform designed by SolarDuck has received the world´s first certification for offshore floating solar by the French company Bureau Veritas.

To accelerate the development of the technology, RWE plans to invest in SolarDuck’s full-scale offshore project ‘Merganser,’ with a nameplate capacity of 0.5 MWp.  Merganser is expected to be installed off the coast of Ostend in the Belgian North Sea and will be SolarDuck’s first offshore pilot project.

Merganser will provide RWE and SolarDuck with credible first-hand learnings that would support the faster commercialization of the technology from the next financial year.

In June this year, RWE signed a memorandum of understanding with steel producer ArcelorMittal to develop, build, and operate offshore wind farms and hydrogen facilities in Germany. The facilities would supply clean energy and green hydrogen needed to produce low-emission steel in the country.

According to a recently released Global Offshore Wind report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), 2021 was one of the best years ever for the global offshore wind industry, which added 21.1 GW of new capacity connected to the grid.