Photo: Illustration (Photo supplied by Nexans)

Nexans to supply ‘vital connection’ for Equinor’s floating solar plant

French offshore cabling specialist Nexans has been awarded a contract by Equinor to supply power export cable for its floating solar pilot offshore Frøya in Norway.

Illustration (Photo supplied by Nexans)
Illustration (Photo supplied by Nexans)

The pilot project is scheduled to come online in December 2021 and will be the world’s first floating solar plant operating in rough offshore waters, according to developers.

The Frøya floating plant will measure 80 by 80 metres, with a height of less than 3 meters above the sea surface, hosting an array of solar panels capable of producing up to 1MW.

Nexans will supply 22kW export cable of 5 kilometres to connect the floating platform from shallow waters to land.

The most challenging aspect for the cable construction is to handle the dynamic loadings as the connection at the platform end pitches up and down with the waves, the French cabling specialist said.

Nexans said it will be using a three-core cable design of a type well proven in offshore wind farm and fish farming installations that will be manufactured at Rognan plant in Norway.

Krister Granlie, Nexans vice president of the submarine telecom and special cables business unit, said: “Our mission for Nexans is to electrify the world. That means exploring every possible opportunity to help develop new sources of green energy.

So, we are delighted to be working once again with Equinor on a truly exciting project that further extends the boundaries of what might be possible in generating renewable energy offshore”.

Utility-scale floating solar power is currently one of the fastest growing renewable technologies as governments and investors around the world explore every possibility for safer, sustainable and decarbonized energy.

This is expected to drive almost 10GW of new floating solar deployment by 2025, according to Nexans.

Equinor is developing the Norwegian floating solar pilot in collaboration with Saipem company Moss Maritime.

Earlier in 2021, Norwegian centre for research and innovation Sintef Ocean performed tests on a scaled floating solar model on behalf of Moss Maritime and Equinor.

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At the time, the partners said they would use the information obtained to calibrate numerical models, which will later be used to design and optimise the actual floating solar installations.