Floating-PV FAQs

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Lake Owners/Co-developers

How does Floating-PV benefit lake owners?You can be part of the energy transition for a more sustainable world while also benefiting from long-term rental income. Operators of hydroelectric power stations benefit from dual use of the reservoir to maximise energy production. In periods of sunshine, the floating solar park generates electricity. At low irradiation or at night, the hydroelectric technology delivers electricity. Furthermore, a Floating-PV system will reduce evaporation from their reservoir, and the existing grid connection can be used. A real win-win situation.
What are the benefits of partnering with BayWa r.e.?BayWa r.e. is an internationally renowned player in the renewable energy market and the European leader in floating solar power. BayWa r.e. has more than 15 years of experience in the development, construction and operation of renewable energy plants nationwide. We are a quality-oriented provider of complete energy solutions with a strong financial background. Our parent company, BayWa AG, generates an annual turnover of 17 billion euros.
Does the system impact marine life or birds?We don’t expect any negative impact on fauna. At our first parks in the Netherlands, we can already see birds sitting on the system and resting just next to it. Qualitative and quantitative research studies are currently under way.
Is there any impact on water quality?Is there any impact on water quality? No negative impact has been discovered so far. Several research studies are being carried out. Our floating solar system allows optimal water circulation under the photovoltaic panels. We expect less algae build-up due to moderate shade underneath the construction. Our system uses what are known as “twin-glass” solar modules that allow optimal light passage, with balanced luminosity on the surface of the water, underneath the installations. According to our experts, these precautions allow the creation of ideal conditions to avoid excessive growth of algae.
Are there any safety issues related to electricity on water?No. Our floating solar systems fulfil all electrical regulations relating to the installation of electrical systems. We install a safe and proven grounding system to protect the system from any electrical failures. Our systems are reviewed and certified by the independent company VDE and are compliant with all electrical regulations and standards. We use the highest standard of cables and components, certified for use in water. The cabling design is kept completely out of the water, hidden under the metal structure of the floating boats, so that cables are protected from the sun and have only minimum contact with the water. This also guarantees the long life of the construction and easier maintenance.
Is it possible to use the water for Floating-PV and other purposes (e.g. recreational use) simultaneously?That would be possible in theory, but we are currently focusing primarily on bodies of water such as sand pits, coal mining areas and water reservoirs that are not used for recreation or tourism. There are many unused bodies of water not being used that could be converted without posing the risk of a conflict of use.
Durability/safety: what if the lake freezes?Durability/safety: what if the lake freezes? The floating system structure is similar to what we use in the ground-based solar parks, and the floating pontoons are made of HDPE. This material has been used for many years in other offshore applications, such as harbours or floating platforms. The pontoons are also designed to withstand forces from ice in the event the lake freezes. The snow and ice, fire, pressure and UV irradiation are studied long before the construction, and the anchors are designed in consideration of all Eurocode safety factors.
Is any space required on land?All inverters and transformers for our systems float on the water, so there is no extra space required on land except for a small technical space called the delivery station to connect the park to the grid, and possibly a container for spare parts.
Why can’t we build smaller than 2 MWp?Our 2 MWp blocks are electrically and mechanically designed, simulated and tested in standard blocks including the required inverters and transformers. A modification or removal of some parts would make the system incomplete and more vulnerable to damage and failures. To maintain the high quality standards of BayWa r.e., we stick with these proven blocks.
In which countries is BayWa r.e. installing floating solar systems?At the moment we are focusing on the European market. But, as a global company, we are also looking for opportunities around the world, e.g. in the Asia-Pacific region.

Banks/investors

Is Floating-PV a proven technology?Floating-PV systems are not a new technology, only a new application of an existing technology. Our Floating-PV systems fulfil all Eurocode standards and are certified by VDE. The system is based on the construction experience of BayWa r.e., who have installed more than 3 GW all around the world. It is maintained by BayWa r.e.’s O&M unit and ensures investors faultless operation over the lifetime of the project. Thanks to our remote management tools and software, we can accurately determine the status of the plant at any time. For those investing in Floating-PV from BayWa r.e., the return, risk and administration are no different than when investing in a ground-mounted plant, as all the particulars are handled by our experienced teams.
What is the average lifespan of a Floating-PV system?The Floating-PV systems are designed to last more than 30 years – the same as ground-mounted solar parks.
What are the advantages of Floating-PV compared to rooftop and ground-mounted PV?Floating solar does not use agricultural land, and the parks do not conflict with food production. Compared to systems installed on rooftops, floating solar allows the creation of much larger parks with a lower LCOE (more competitive cost of energy production). Furthermore, construction and maintenance operations for floating solar systems are simpler for our employees than rooftop installations.
Who will operate and manage my Floating-PV plant?The system will be operated and managed by the experts of BayWa r.e.’s O&M team, which has extensive experience of our projects in the Netherlands. Remote 24/7 monitoring is guaranteed from our control centre.

Local authorities

How can you ensure the safety of the system and especially the safety of individuals using the water as a lake for swimming?Our Floating-PV systems fulfil all electrical regulations relating to the installation of electrical systems. We install a safe and proven grounding system to protect the system from any electrical failures. Our systems are reviewed and certified by the independent company VDE and are compliant with all electrical regulations and standards.
What about conflict with tourism?We are primarily looking at non-recreational bodies of water, such as sand pits, coal mining areas and water storage facilities that are not used for tourism. There are a large number of undeveloped water bodies that can be reconverted, so there is no need to use those with recreational uses.
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