RWE team examines floating PV potential

PV2Float will test several solar floaters with different structure designs over a three-year period [Image: RWE]

RWE Renewables, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) are working together to further develop floating solar power technology.

The joint research project, PV2Float, will test several floating photovoltaic systems with different structure designs under real conditions over a three-year period.

An evaluation for a suitable open pit lake for the implementation is currently ongoing, the partners said.
In addition to selecting the location, RWE will carry out a potential analysis of the German and international market for floating PV.

The demonstration PV plant is to be designed and built together with Volta Solar.

Four floating PV installations and a reference installation on land with a total power of around 150kW are planned.

Heckert Solar, a solar module manufacturer in Chemnitz, will support the project with PV module concepts.

VDE Renewables is evaluating the developed power plant concepts to ensure that they comply with standards and electrical safety.

It will also inspect the plants after construction.

Fraunhofer ISE will investigate the regulatory framework for floating PV and is also developing a procedure for the participation of local stakeholders.

The institute will perform durability tests on the individual system components, carry out simulation models on energy yield and adapt them to meet the particular requirements of floating applications, where necessary.

Fraunhofer ISE will also investigate the economic viability of floating PV.

The aquatic ecology monitoring is the responsibility of BTU.

RWE Renewables senior manager solar power Thorsten Miltkau said: “We see great potential for floating PV worldwide.

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“With this research project, we want to deepen our knowledge of the technical possibilities of floating PV systems, such as scalability and energy yield, and transfer the findings to commercial projects.”

Fraunhofer ISE project head Stefan Wieland said: “Bodies of water put special demands on the design, material, environmental compatibility and operational management of floating PV power plants.

“In the project, these aspects are investigated for large floating PV plants.”

PV2Float is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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