Photo: Floating solar park with offshore wind farm (Courtesy of RWE)

RWE and SolarDuck partner up to commercialize offshore floating solar. Plans laid for integration with offshore wind

RWE, one of the world’s leading companies for renewable energy, and Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck have signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks at sea, while also outlining plans for integration of such power plants with offshore wind farms.

RWE and SolarDuck sign collaboration agreement (Courtesy of RWE)
RWE and SolarDuck sign collaboration agreement (Courtesy of RWE)

RWE said it will invest in the first SolarDuck’s offshore floating solar pilot in the North Sea to accelerate the learnings on floating solar technology.

The project is a first step in the collaboration and lays the foundation for a larger demonstration project at the Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West.

According to RWE, it is tendering for this project, and has included SolarDuck into its bid with a highly innovative combination of offshore floating solar with integrated storage solutions.

Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Wind Offshore of RWE Renewables, said: “RWE is constantly looking for innovative ways to further improve the production of renewable energy offshore. We are very keen to further explore the potential of offshore floating solar together with our partner SolarDuck. For countries with lower mean wind speeds but high solar irradiation, this opens up attractive opportunities.”

Koen Burgers, SolarDuck’s CEO, added: “The need for secure, sustainable and affordable energy demands new and immediate answers from the industry in Europe and also globally. SolarDuck is part of this answer, bringing solar energy into its next frontier, the oceans.”

The full-scale offshore floating solar pilot in the North Sea

Floating solar park with offshore wind farm (Courtesy of RWE)
Floating solar park with offshore wind farm (Courtesy of RWE)

RWE will invest in SolarDuck’s full-scale offshore pilot called ‘Merganser’ with a nameplate capacity of 0.5 MWp in 2023, the partners announced.

‘Merganser’ is expected to be installed off the coast of Ostend in the Belgian North Sea and will be SolarDuck’s first offshore pilot following the deployment of an inland pilot in the Netherlands in 2021.

According to the companies, ‘Merganser’ will provide RWE and SolarDuck with important first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world. These learnings are expected to enable a faster commercialization of the technology from 2023 onwards.

Utermöhlen said: “With the SolarDuck pilot we are gaining experience with a highly innovative offshore floating solar technology. We want to contribute to accelerate the energy transition, have a positive impact on marine ecology and help to integrate energy systems. Together we can make a real difference using tomorrow’s technology for today’s projects.”

Burgers added: “Showcasing SolarDuck’s robust technology in rough North Sea conditions will enable us to deploy the technology practically anywhere in the world. We are very pleased that we found in RWE a strong partner who shares our vision of electrifying the world with offshore floating solar. I look forward to our organizations working together to achieve just that.”

SolarDuck to deliver solution for RWE´s Hollandse Kust West bid

The integration of offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm is a more efficient use of ocean space for energy generation (using the space between the wind turbines) and allows for synergies with regards to the construction and maintenance of the multi-source renewable energy plant. The result is a more balanced production profile due to the complementary nature of wind and solar resources.

RWE has therefore selected SolarDuck in its bid for the Dutch tender for Hollandse Kust West (HKW) VII (system integration). A winning bid will realize the integration of an offshore floating solar plant at pre-commercial scale with 5MWp combined with innovative energy storage solutions into the offshore wind farm.

Further building on the collaboration with project ‘Merganser’ and HKW, RWE and SolarDuck said they would explore new opportunities with the objective to develop commercial offshore floating solar parks, both stand-alone and hybrid.


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