Illustration/Aerial view of floating solar farm in China (Courtesy of DNV)

DNV moves to the forefront of floating solar industry standardization

DNV, an independent energy expert and assurance provider, has introduced two joint industry projects aiming to create comprehensive standardization guides for the floating solar industry.

Illustration/Aerial view of floating solar farm in China (Courtesy of DNV)
Illustration/Aerial view of floating solar farm in China (Courtesy of DNV)
Illustration/Aerial view of floating solar farm in China (Courtesy of DNV)

In order to provide comprehensive guidance to floating solar operators, DNV has spearheaded a joint industry project involving 24 of the sector’s leaders to develop the world’s first recommended practice on the design, development, and operation of floating solar systems.

The set of standards DNV-RP-0584 was successfully introduced in 2021 as the first step on the path towards floating solar standards and certification.  

Following this breakthrough, DNV has strived to collaborate with industry players to move from recommended practices to floating solar-specific reference standards. This has enabled them and their stakeholders to manage risk and complexity with confidence, supporting the shift to renewable and low-emission energy sources.  

Therefore, DNV has taken the lead on two new joint industry projects to achieve this.

The first is to share and improve the best practices for the design of floating solar-specific anchoring and mooring structures.

Based on a selection of floating solar concepts, the project – which gathers stakeholders from all areas of the floating solar field – will address a variety of challenges expected when deploying installations in larger islands with shallow drafts.

The second project proposes to draw from DNV’s expertise and network to create an adequate unified floating solar-specific floats design, testing and qualification standard that will introduce clearer, faster and cheaper performance-based procedures that are layout-neutral and failure-mode-specific. 

Juan Carlos Arévalo, executive vice president at GPM&S, a DNV company, said: “The use of industry standards will ultimately lead to higher quality, lower failure rates and more adequate access to data-driven digital solutions and assurance services like verification and certification.

“This can only be achieved through joint efforts and continuous knowledge sharing. This will not lead to the convergence of floating solar photovoltaic technology into a dominant concept, but rather establish a common approach to analysis and simulation that allows players to consistently improve on one another’s best practices and lay out industry-wide testing and quality assurance procedures.”  

Dana Olson, global segment lead for solar power at energy systems at DNV, added: “Floating photovoltaics structures present unique challenges to the solar industry due to specific hydrodynamic loads, risks of corrosion and specific components, such as floats, anchors and mooring lines.

“Several large customers in the solar community have requested that we develop new, tailored standards to guide them in the development of resilient floating solar projects. In particular, our input on the determination of design environmental loading will provide crucial guidance to the whole field, and we’re eager to engage directly with customers across the industry at this crucial step of floating solar project development.”

While large scale ground-mounted photovoltaic development may be more challenging due to difficult terrain or land scarcity, many water bodies remain largely available for power generation – making the business case for floating solar extremely attractive.

After a slow start, the floating solar market had grown to 2GW global installed capacity in 2020, while DNV foresees a total of 7-11GW to be installed by 2025 with a major increase from 2023 onwards. 

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