How the Floating Photovoltaic Solution Set Off a Storm Worldwide?
In the past few years, floating photovoltaic solutions
in global lakes and dams have achieved some success. On this basis, offshore projects have become an emerging opportunity for developers, which may arise when co-located with wind power plants.
George Heynes explored how the industry has shifted from pilot projects to commercially viable large-scale projects. It provided a detailed introduction to future opportunities and challenges. On a global scale, the solar energy industry continues to be popular, as this variable renewable energy can be deployed in a range of different regions.
One of the latest and possibly most important methods for utilizing solar energy has now reached the forefront of the industry. Floating photovoltaic systems in offshore and nearshore waters, which also known as floating photovoltaic, may become a revolutionary technology that can successfully produce green energy in areas that are currently difficult to develop due to geographical limitations.
The working mode of floating photovoltaic modules is the same as that of terrestrial systems. The inverter and array are fixed on a floating platform, and the combiner box collects DC power after generating electricity, which is then converted into AC power by the solar inverter.
Floating photovoltaic systems can be deployed in oceans, lakes, and rivers, and establishing power grids in these areas may be difficult. Regions such as the Caribbean, Indonesia, and Maldives can benefit greatly from this technology. The pilot project has been deployed in Europe, where this technology continues to gain further impetus as a complementary renewable weapon to the de-carbonization arsenal.
Last year, Austrian power companies EVN and BayWa. r. e announced their then so-called "largest" floating photovoltaic device in Europe, which will be developed in Grafenwörth, Austria.
At the same time, both Norway and Belgium have seen a significant influx of this technology through pilot projects, allowing several European testing platforms to experiment and test its feasibility. Other pilot projects are also underway globally. This technology is increasingly likely to expand into mature projects. However, what are the opportunities related to this technology?
Due to shared output cables and substations, co-location with offshore wind power can reduce capital expenditure costs.
How Floating Photovoltaic Solutions on the Sea Set off a Storm Globally?
One of the many benefits of floating photovoltaic technology is that it can coexist with existing technologies and increase the energy production of renewable energy power plants.
Hydroelectric power stations can be combined with floating photovoltaic solutions to increase project production capacity. The World Bank's "Where the Sun Meets Water: Floating Photovoltaic Market Report" points out that solar capacity can be used to increase project power generation. It can also help manage low water periods by allowing hydro-power stations to operate in a "peak-shaving" mode rather than a "base load" mode.
The report also provides a detailed introduction to the other positive impacts of using offshore floating photovoltaic solutions, including the potential for improving energy production through water cooling, reducing or even eliminating environmental barriers to components, eliminating the need for large sites, and making installation and deployment easier.
Hydro-power is not the only existing renewable power generation technology that can be supported by the arrival of floating photovoltaic solutions. Offshore wind power can be combined with floating photovoltaic systems to maximize the benefits of these large structures.
This potential has sparked a strong interest in many wind power plants in the North Sea, which provides a perfect prerequisite for the development of floating photovoltaic power plants.
Allard van Hoeken, CEO and founder of Oceans of Energy said, "We believe that if you combine offshore floating photovoltaic solutions with offshore wind power, the speed of project development will be much faster because the infrastructure already exists. This helps with the development of technology.
Hoeken also mentioned that if solar energy is combined with existing offshore wind power plants, a large amount of energy can be generated in the North Sea alone.
If you combine offshore photovoltaic and offshore wind energy, you can easily provide 50% of the annual energy needs of the Netherlands with just 5% of the North Sea area.
This potential demonstrates the importance of this technology for the entire solar energy industry and countries transitioning to low-carbon energy systems.
One of the biggest benefits of using floating photovoltaic solutions is the available space. The ocean provides a vast area where this technology can be used, while many applications are competing for space on land. Floating photovoltaic solutions can also alleviate concerns about building solar power plants on agricultural land. There are increasing concerns in this field in the UK.
Chris Willow, Director of Floating Wind Power Development at RWE Offshore Wind Power Company, also shares the same view, believing that the potential of this technology is enormous.
Offshore photovoltaic solutions have the potential to become an exciting development in land and lake technologies, opening up a new door for GW-scale solar power generation. By avoiding land scarcity issues, this technology has opened up new markets.
As Willock said, offshore photovoltaic solutions eliminate issues related to land scarcity by providing a way to produce energy at sea. As mentioned by Ingrid Lome, a senior naval architect at Moss Maritime, a Norwegian engineering company dedicated to offshore development, this technology can be applied in small urban countries such as Singapore.
For any country with limited land energy production space, the potential for offshore floating photovoltaic solutions is enormous. Singapore is a typical example. An important benefit is the ability to generate electricity near aquaculture, oil and gas production bases, or other facilities that require energy.
This is crucial. This technology can create microgrids for regions or facilities that are not integrated into a wider grid, highlighting the potential of this technology in countries with a large number of islands, which find it difficult to establish a national grid. It is particularly worth mentioning that Southeast Asia can gain a huge push through this technology.