If, a few months ago, the Netherlands surprised with a project to build the first floating farm in the world, it is now doing it with another which is not far behind neither in difficulty nor in its pioneering character in the international level. This is the design, construction and commissioning of the first floating solar power plant at sea. The challenge could translate into a improved performance of photovoltaic panels by up to 15% with regard to those located on land, in addition to tackling the problems of lack of space which sometimes make it difficult to install this type of farm for the use of clean energy.

Baptized as’Zon-op-Zee“, Which translates to” The sun in the sea “, this project to be developed in three years has a good number of players involved to ensure that the challenge is met. Specific, six companies and specialized research centers they are working hand in hand on the design of this floating photovoltaic farm which, when it materializes above the waters of the North Sea, will be unique in the world.

And is that, although countries like China or the United Kingdom have already chosen to transfer their plants to the water surface to capture solar energy, to date, these have been found in masses of water on land, usually lakes. Hence the exceptional nature of the initiative. “What we are going to do with this project has never been done”. This is underlined by Allard van Hoeken, engineer of the year 2015 in the Netherlands, as well as founder and director of Oceans of energy, Start which is part of the consortium that hopes to make the project a reality. The bet is a challenge, especially because of the destructive forces of wind and waves at sea, a matter for which this type of initiative has not been carried out.

Floating solar panels

Floating solar panel project in YAMAKURAdam. Image: Dreamnikon. Shutterstock[/caption]

Now this Start, in addition to the Dutch Energy Research Center (ENC), the Netherlands Institute for Maritime Research (MARIN), the research organization TNO, the specialist company TAQA based in Abu Dhabi and the University Utrecht, they decided to go ahead. In addition, they are not alone in developing the project, as the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO) has decided to financially support the initiative.

The attractiveness of the project and the impact of its implementation are obvious. “Large-scale floating solar systems on the sea do not yet exist”, point of the consortium. It also alludes to the forces of solar energy in the sea, which would not occupy the rare soils on earth. In addition, the pilots stand out its potential contribution to islands or remote areas in which, precisely for this reason, they tend to resort to polluting sources, such as diesel.

However, these are not the only areas that would benefit from the success of the ambitious idea. “It will be a solution for the whole world, since the majority of the planet’s population is concentrated in the coastal regions”. Specific, 6 in 10 people live in areas close to the sea line. “We hope to create a positive and lasting impact for all.», Confides van Hoeken.

The expected impact extends to more areas, such as the performance of solar photovoltaic installations. In this sense, the participants in this project consider that a solar farm at sea can bring in 15% more than another, counterpart, on land. This aspect will continue to be deepened as the work of this consortium progresses, since the role of the University of Utrecht will be precisely to compare production on land and in maritime solar power plants such as that which will be released in the Pays -Low.