RWE AG (ETR:RWE) and Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck have agreed to work on the development of floating solar parks at sea.
As a first step of the cooperation, the German power major will invest in a full-scale pilot project that will be set up off the coast of Ostend in the Belgian North Sea in 2023. Known as Merganser, the project will have a capacity of 0.5 MWp and will be SolarDuck’s first offshore pilot, RWE said on Tuesday.
The pilot plant will deploy the offshore floating solar technology developed by SolarDuck which is designed to float several metres above the water, keeping critical electrical components dry and stable, and enabling safe operations.
SolarDuck's technology allows the combination of offshore floating solar and offshore wind which is expected to result in construction and maintenance synergies and more efficient use of the space between wind turbines.
The insights gained through Merganser will enable faster commercialisation of the technology from 2023 on.
"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," said Sven Utermoehlen, CEO Wind Offshore of RWE Renewables.
Apart from the pilot project, RWE has included SolarDuck in its bid for the Hollandse Kust West VII wind farm tender. Together, the partners offer to integrate an offshore floating solar plant at a pre-commercial scale with 5 MWp in combination with an energy storage solution into the offshore wind farm.
Additionally, RWE and SolarDuck plan to study more opportunities to develop commercial offshore floating solar parks, both stand-alone and hybrid.
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