The Netherlands coast will have the first floating solar power plant in the world. The solar panels intended for generation of energy at plant Zon-op-Zee (“Sun in the Sea,” in free translation) will be installed in high seas. Estimation is that the undertaking will be in operation by 2022.
Producing solar energy on a watery surface is not exactly a novelty: The United Kingdom and China already tested this technology, but only on lakes and for scientific purposes. Now, the Dutch project intends not only to produce energy to supply coastal towns, but also to serve as a lab so that the model may be replicated in other countries.
“It’s a solution for the entire world, since the majority of the earth’s population is concentrated in coastal regions. By starting now to bring solar at sea to life, we expect to create a positive and lasting impact worldwide,” said Allard van Hoeken, founder of Oceans of Energy, a company that builds renewable energy plants, in a statement.
Energy efficiency at sea
The project Zon-op-Zee estimates the installation of 2.5 square kilometers of solar panels. And this equipment is expected to perform 15% more efficiently than those operating onshore, even with risks associated to strong winds or tides, the developers said.
“The potential of solar energy is enormous. In 2018’s National Solar Trend Report, it is estimated that solar energy can contribute to 75% of the Dutch energy supply. There is tremendous potential for floating solar farms to contribute significantly to this goal,” said Wijnand van Hooff, director of the program Solar Energy TKI Urban Energy. Entities responsible for generation and management of energy in the Netherlands take part of the program.
With the initiative’s potential success, Oceans of Energy and Utrecht University will carry on the scientific investigation regarding the production of floating solar power at sea, with two purposes: taking the technology to islands and remote regions and developing a structure to install wind energy farms – that, in the Lowlands region, may have an even greater productive capacity.
Content published in August 5, 2019