Oceans of Energy Beefs Up Its Dutch North Sea Solar Farm

Oceans of Energy has doubled the capacity of its first offshore floating solar farm in the Dutch North Sea.

Photo: Oceans of Energy

The Dutch company, which installed its first modules in November last year to put them through the winter storms, has now set up 56 solar panels with a total capacity of 17 kilowatts.

According to the company, this will be expanded in the coming months towards a 50 kW pilot that will be operational during a testing period of a year.

In 2017, six Dutch companies and Research Organizations including TNO, MARIN, ONE-Dyas and Oceans of Energy started with the development, construction, testing, and operation of the first offshore floating solar utility at open sea in the world.

The project ‘Zon op Zee (Solar-at-Sea)’ has received an innovation contribution from the Dutch Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO.nl) through the “Topsector Energie” policy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.

The systems that are currently deployed in the North Sea are subject to extensive monitoring. The effect of shading on primary production is negligible, as the tides refresh the water below the platforms continuously. With respect to organisms living on the sea floor, there is no effect on them, as sunlight never penetrates to the bottom of the muddy waters of the North Sea, Oceans of Energy said.

Offshore solar is the way to make many coastal regions, islands and remote locations sustainable. Without offshore solar, for example it will not be possible to have the total energy demand in the Netherlands being provided by renewables due to lack of land space. Even in the best scenarios, the sum of land-based solar and wind energy together with the maximum scenario for offshore wind will not reach half of the total energy demand, according to studies from Oceans of Energy. Offshore solar can supply half of the Dutch total energy demand while using less than 5% of the Dutch North Sea. Also important, this 5% of sea space can be found within existing and planned offshore wind farms, Oceans of Energy explains.