SolarDuck and RWE’s Merganser pilot floats offshore solar power.

By Oliver Townsend Jul 4, 2024
SolarDuck and RWE install offshore floating solar pilot Merganser.jpegOrginal image from:

Solar energy is a rapidly growing industry, with new innovations constantly being developed to harness the power of the sun more efficiently. One such innovation is the offshore floating solar pilot project called Merganser, installed by SolarDuck and supported by RWE. This pilot project aims to test and demonstrate the structural, mooring, and electrical designs necessary for large-scale commercial deployment of offshore floating solar technology.

Testing Offshore Floating Solar Technology with Merganser

The Merganser project, located in the Dutch North Sea, boasts a capacity of 0.5 MWp and consists of six interconnected platforms designed to withstand extreme offshore conditions. The project is a collaborative effort between SolarDuck and RWE, with RWE providing offshore expertise and technical support to ensure the success of the pilot project.

According to Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind, offshore floating solar has the potential to open up new renewable energy opportunities for countries with abundant sunlight but lower wind speeds. The Merganser project provides valuable insights into operating in challenging offshore environments and paves the way for future offshore solar installations.

Innovative Design for Offshore Conditions

SolarDuck’s triangular-shaped floating platforms are designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves to maintain stability and keep critical components dry and clean. The design has received certification for offshore photovoltaic (OFPV) technology by Bureau Veritas, highlighting its structural integrity and suitability for offshore environments.

Koen Burgers, CEO of SolarDuck, emphasizes the collaborative nature of the project, with partners like RWE, TNO, TU Delft, MARIN, and Deltares contributing to the success of Merganser. By combining expertise from various organizations and supply chain partners, the project demonstrates the potential of offshore floating solar technology to revolutionize the renewable energy sector.

Monitoring and Future Impacts

Over the next two years, Merganser will be closely monitored using over 180 sensors to track structural loads, mooring loads, and electrical performance. Additionally, Deltares will conduct an extensive monitoring campaign to assess the ecological impact of offshore floating solar technology, ensuring that environmental considerations are addressed in the project’s development.

The successful installation of Merganser marks a significant milestone in the advancement of offshore floating solar technology. Through collaboration, innovation, and ongoing monitoring, projects like Merganser are paving the way for a more sustainable and efficient future in renewable energy.

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