RWE and SolarDuck accelerate technical development and commercialization of large floating solar parks at sea

RWE and the Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck have signed a cooperation agreement to develop the use of floating solar parks at sea. To accelerate knowledge of SolarDucks liquid solar technology, RWE will invest in a first offshore pilot in the North Sea. The project is a first step in the collaboration and lays the foundation for a major demonstration project in the Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West (HKW). RWE has submitted a bid for this project and cited SolarDuck with a highly innovative combination of offshore liquid solar energy with integrated storage solutions.

Unique offshore liquid solar technology from SolarDuck

The technology developed by SolarDuck for floating solar panels at sea creates a new opportunity for the production of solar energy and provides a response to the increasing scarcity on earth for the production of renewable energy. The integration of floating solar panels with an offshore wind farm allows for more efficient use of the offshore space for energy production (by using the space between the wind turbines) and enables synergies in terms of design and maintenance of the multifunctional renewable energy source. The result is a balanced energy production thanks to the complementary nature of wind and solar energy sources.

Building solar parks at sea requires technology that can withstand harsh conditions such as high waves, strong winds and salt water. SolarDuck’s unique triangular platform, which has received the world’s first certification for floating offshore solar cell installations from Bureau Veritas, is designed to soar several meters above the water and follow the waves – the equivalent of a blanket. In this way, important electrical components remain dry, clean and stable. This guarantees a long service life for the semi-submersible construction, while allowing safe operation and maintenance.

Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Offshore Wind RWE Renewables states: “RWE is constantly looking for innovative ways to further improve the production of renewable energy at sea. We are very excited to further explore the potential of floating solar farms at sea with our partner SolarDuck. This provides attractive opportunities for countries with lower average wind speeds, but with a high solar radiation. With the SolarDuck pilot, we gain experience with an extremely innovative technique for floating solar panels at sea. We want to help speed up energy conversion, have a positive impact on marine ecology and help integrate energy systems. Together we can really make a difference by using tomorrow’s technology for today’s projects. ”

Koen Burgers, CEO of SolarDuck, said: “The need for safe, sustainable and affordable energy requires new and immediate responses from industry in Europe and globally. SolarDuck is part of the response that brings solar energy to the oceans. By demonstrating SolarDucks robust technology under the harsh conditions of the North Sea, we can implement the technology virtually anywhere in the world.We are pleased to have found a strong partner in RWE who shares our vision of electrifying the world through liquid solar energy at sea. to work with our companies to achieve just that. ”

RWE is investing in a large pilot project in the North Sea

To accelerate the development of the technology, in 2023 RWE will invest in the large-scale pilot of an offshore solar park by SolarDuck, called ‘Merganser’, with a nominal capacity of 0.5 MWp. ‘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 successful deployment of an inland pilot in the Netherlands last year.

‘Merganser’ will give RWE and SolarDuck significant first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world. The experience gained will enable faster commercialization of the technology from 2023.

SolarDuck selected to deliver innovative solution to RWE’s bid for Dutch Coast West

SolarDuck’s technology opens a new door for solar energy, even in the harsh North Sea environment. RWE has therefore chosen SolarDuck in its bid for the Dutch tender for HKW VII (system integration). A winning bid will realize the integration of an offshore floating solar cell installation on a pre-commercial scale of 5 MWp in combination with innovative energy storage solutions in the offshore wind farm.

Based on the collaboration with the project ‘Merganser’ and HKW, RWE and SolarDuck will explore new possibilities with the aim of developing commercial offshore floating solar parks, both independent and hybrid. The combination of RWE’s leading global market position and SolarDuck’s technological and commercial ingenuity provides the perfect basis for accelerating the spread of this promising technology.

RWE as a leading player in sustainable energy with a strong position in the Netherlands

RWE is a leading global player in renewable energy and the world number 2 in offshore wind energy. The company currently operates 18 offshore wind farms; it builds the Sofia wind farms (1.4 GW off the British coast) and Kaskasi (342 MW off the German coast) and has a total of more than 10 GW offshore wind farms under development. RWE has partnered with the Dutch government for many years to promote energy conversion by investing in clean energy solutions. The Netherlands is one of the most important markets, with RWE aiming to further expand its renewable energy portfolio. RWE currently operates seven onshore wind farms in the Netherlands with a total installed capacity of more than 330 MW (RWE’s pro-rata share), with new farms under development and construction, as well as solar parks, including the floating solar cell project in Amer. RWE is also working to expand CO2-free flexible production capacity and develop hydrogen projects on land and offshore, such as H2opZee, NortH2 and FUREC to help the industry reduce CO2 emissions.

SolarDuck supplies the world with clean solar energy using state-of-the-art technology

SolarDuck is a Dutch-Norwegian OFPV company with strong roots in the maritime industry. The company was founded after a spin-off from Damen Shipyards (the largest shipbuilder in the Netherlands). Since then, SolarDuck has worked tirelessly on the vision of ‘Electrifying the world with OFPV’. SolarDuck generates offshore solar energy using its unique, state-of-the-art technology, which is fully scalable to meet specific local requirements, worldwide. The company offers a sustainable solution to meet the world’s increasing energy demand, especially where the need for decarbonisation and limited land space means that the solution lies in the space of the sea. SolarDucks technology offers an attractive value proposition in a wide range of applications, ranging from islands in the sun belt to hybrid offshore parks in the North Sea, including the Netherlands.

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