Photo: Illustration/Ocean Sun's floating solar plant (Courtesy of Ocean Sun)

Floating solar power set for trials off Canary Islands

Ocean Sun and Fred. Olsen Renewables, together with project partners, have been awarded Horizon 2020 funding to test a full-scale floating solar power unit in the Atlantic Ocean.

Illustration/Ocean Sun's floating solar plant (Courtesy of Ocean Sun)
Illustration/Ocean Sun’s floating solar plant (Courtesy of Ocean Sun)

The other partners in the consortium are Innosea, the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (ITC), and the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN).

During the €4 million project, dubbed BOOST (Bringing Offshore Ocean Sun to the Global Market), the partners will perform state-of-the art analyses, laboratory tests and build a full-scale 0,25MWp floating solar power unit in the sunniest part of Europe, off the coast of Gran Canaria.

The offshore test location poses challenging sea conditions with up to 10-meter wave heights and high winds, according to Norwegian floating solar specialist Ocean Sun.

As such, the project presents an ‘excellent opportunity for Ocean Sun to explore the outer limits of its technology’, the company said.

The project will also serve to qualify and certify Ocean Sun’s patented floating solar technology for offshore applications in non-sheltered locations.

Børge Bjørneklett, CEO and Founder of Ocean Sun, said: “The sea-state outside of Gran Canaria represent a step change for the application area for commercial floating solar technologies today. Successful operation of the special membrane solution in these waters will pave way for abundant supply of affordable renewably energy in the lower latitudes”.

Rolf Benjamin Johansen, Director of Floating Solar at Fred. Olsen Renewables, added: “Fred. Olsen Renewables wants to take a first-mover position as project developer, owner and operator of floating solar in selected countries in Asia and Southern Europe. This EC-project, together with our agreement with the Solar Energy Institute of Singapore (SERIS), will give us valuable insights for future commercial projects both off- and near-shore”.

Benoit Briere, Innosea Project Manager for BOOST, said: “Europe’s solar PV plants are currently the smallest in the world in terms of their average size, due to challenges in finding the required land space. BOOST addresses this issue by investing in analyses and the development of solutions to mooring and floating technology, that will support larger-scale floating solar PV developments – combating head-on the issue of land restrictions”.

The project, with a duration of 30 months, starts in January 2021 with design and tests in basin laboratory and will be followed by sea trials.

Following the installation, all aspects of the system will be analyzed and a plan for further commercialization and large-scale deployments will be developed, Ocean Sun said.