Photo: SolarDuck's floating solar demonstrator installed in IJzendoorn (Courtesy of SolarDuck)

Watch: SolarDuck debuts its floating solar platform

SolarDuck, a Dutch renewable energy start-up, has launched its first floating solar energy project at IJzendoorn in the Netherlands.

Photo showing SolarDuck's floating solar demonstrator installed in IJzendoorn (Courtesy of SolarDuck)
SolarDuck’s floating solar demonstrator installed in IJzendoorn (Courtesy of SolarDuck)

Last week, the floating platforms were towed upriver from Gorinchem, where they were built at Damen Shipyards, to IJzendoorn through the Waal (Rhine), the widest river of the Netherlands.

SolarDuck’s full-scale pilot consists of four triangular-shaped platform units, each placed on floating pillars.

At the pilot site on the Waal, the structure will be linked to an electrolyzer and begin producing hydrogen. It will have 65 kW of power-generating capacity, it was revealed earlier.

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The aluminium-made structure keeps the solar panels and electrical parts more than three meters above water level. Each of its three sides is approximately 16 meters long, according to Norsk Hydro, the supplier of the aluminium materials for the pilot.

Don Hoogendoorn, chief technology officer at SolarDuck, said: “For months, we perfected the technological design, after which we built the demonstrator within seven months. From a technological point of view – our team has over 80 years of shared experience in maritime technology – we knew the platforms were built robustly, but a 50-kilometre high-speed towing route is the ultimate real-life test. During such a path, the forces are far beyond those you would experience at sea. And our platforms passed the test with flying colors”.

The project is only the beginning for SolarDuck, according to Olaf de Swart, the company’s head of business development.

Photo showing triangular-shaped floating solar platform units being assembled at Damen Shipyards for SolarDuck (Courtesy of SolarDuck)
Triangular-shaped floating solar platform units being assembled at Damen Shipyards for SolarDuck (Courtesy of SolarDuck)

Although SolarDuck has only been in full-time business since October, global project demand has been high and stretches from Bermuda, to Japan. The main driving forces driving this market are a global ambition to get to net zero on the one hand, and a lack of space to place solar panels on the other, according to SolarDuck.

De Swart said: “The absence of available land is mainly seen on islands, in megacities such as Tokyo or Singapore, and on offshore platforms, which are therefore our target markets. But we even have project proposals from Oman, where land prices are so high, that people prefer to look at the sea for their solar energy need.

Koen Burgers, SolarDuck’s CEO, added: “We have no time to rest on our laurels. Today, we’ll take pride in the project we built with our consortium of Engie Solutions, DSM Advanced Solar, Chint Solar, Damen Shipyards Group and Dekker Group. Tomorrow, it’s all hands on deck for our second project, which will float on the sea and is currently in details design.

“When we founded SolarDuck, we knew we wanted to change the world and add our bit to a sustainable future. Currently our global pipeline is already in the hundreds of megawatt peaks. Receiving worldwide recognition for your product at such an early stage is amazing. Now, it is our job to make our ambition come to fruition”.

Take a look at the video released by SolarDuck which offers more details on the development of the company’s floating solar demonstrator.

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The Dutch start-up has also released a webinar recording to accompany the launch of its demonstrator.

The webinar includes international experts such as TU delft professor in offshore design and head of the Wave Mechanics Research Group Andrei Metrikine; Sven Kramer, director of sustainability at Van Oord, and Dutch Labour Party Senate Leader Mei Li Vos.

In the webinar, the team explains both theory and practice behind building offshore floating solar platforms, the research used to ensure its product can withstand high seas and rough winds and the ambitions for the future for the company.