Floating-PV – a Key Solution for France’s Energy Transition

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Unused bodies of water offer huge potential for Floating-PV systems

From disused coal quarries and mineral extraction pits to unused reservoirs, Floating-PV offers tremendous potential for contributing to the renewable energy transition across Europe.

It allays the debate over land use and allows owners of artificial lakes to make the most of their bodies of water.

A huge potential in France

The territory of France abounds in lakes from former quarries as well as water reservoirs for various uses (drinking water, irrigation, etc.). These sites, whose geographical distribution is relatively homogenous on the national level on the one hand, and which are often neglected or undervalued on the other hand, can be given a second lease of life thanks to our Floating-PV solution.

In addition, this upgrading has the advantage of being long-term, as the life span of such an installation is at least 30 years.

Floating-PV technology allows for generation of electricity in a reliable, sustainable and long-term manner with minimum impact on aquatic life and optimum grip on the water.

The experience we have gained from the deployment of large Floating-PV projects in the Netherlands has given us unique know-how that is available throughout the project life cycle, from development through construction to operation.

Floating-PV offers considerable advantages

Our Floating-PV technology has many advantages: reduction of evaporation from bodies of water, fast construction and optimised maintenance, as well as improved yields thanks to the cooling effect of the water coupled with the large surface areas used.

These advantages offset the increased installation costs of Floating-PV systems compared to ground-based solar systems of the same size.

The reduction in evaporation through Floating-PV systems can play a decisive role in the more southern regions of Europe, where water supplies are being hit hard by increasingly frequent droughts.

Thanks to these installations, owners and managers of water reservoirs can potentially obtain double benefit by collecting rental income on the one hand and preserving the water reserves of their lakes on the other. With regard to reservoirs of drinking water, our technology is certified not to produce any pollutants. 

The vast possibilities of Floating-PV: significant figures for Germany

A study carried out by research institute Fraunhofer ISE shows the considerable potential offered by Floating-PV. Assuming the use of only 10% of all German man-made lakes suitable for Floating-PV (taking into account all exclusion criteria such as nature and landscape protection, recreation/leisure activities, etc.), its potential would be more than 2 GWp in Germany. 

410,000 homes could be supplied with power in this way with a neutral impact on the environment. With this solar energy production, over a million tonnes of CO2 could also be saved each year. 

Furthermore, the research institute Fraunhofer ISE estimates that floating solar can potentially generate 1.6 to 5.5 GW in Germany just from the lakes from lignite mines. 

According to a study by the World Bank, there is a potential of 204 GWp across Europe alone, if we use 10% of the man-made freshwater reservoirs.

Quote

More water evaporates from reservoirs than is consumed by humans.

Prof. Eicke Weber, UC Berkeley (ret)

Floating-PV systems from the market leader 

Following the success of our first three Floating-PV projects with a capacity of 2.1 MWp, 8.4 MWp and 14.5 MWp, we now have a new 27.4 MWp Floating-PV installation under our belt in the form of Bomhofsplas. It’s the world’s largest Floating-PV system outside of China.

Our expertise: we can handle every step of the project

As a provider of energy solutions along the entire value chain, we put our expertise at your service: 

  • Planning and technical consulting 
  • Reporting and analysis 
  • Project development
  • Procurement from long-term partners 
  • Turnkey construction 
  • Financing 
  • Direct sale of energy
  • Power purchase agreements (PPAs) 
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Administrative and commercial management

Our certified Floating-PV solution 

In conjunction with a consortium of technical partners, we have designed and developed a fully integrated and innovative Floating-PV system. This system, which is distinguished by its robustness and stability, incorporates our VDE-certified electrical and mechanical system design.

Research and innovation work recognised: our integrated Floating-PV solution was recently awarded PV Magazine’s innovation prize.

Modular Solar-Boot structure 

  • Stable, durable and scalable system long-lasting materials for all components for min. 25 years 
  • Combination of high quality-multilayer hard plastic (HDPE) floats and steel construction
  • Integrated DC cable concept for fixed and protected cabling
  • Maintenance paths integrated through the floats
  • Inverter boat on the same structural basis
  • Cables certified for in water installation
  • Electrical concept VDE certified
  • Static design based on Eurocode 

Properties

Dimensions: 4 × 6 m
Modules per boat: 12 (6 east/6 west-oriented)
Capacity: 4.8 kWp

France could soon become a leading country in Floating-PV in Europe. The use of this new technology will undeniably contribute to the achievement of its objectives in the fight against climate change. 

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