Floating-PV offers huge potential
Floating-PV systems on unused bodies of water – from disused coal quarries and mineral extraction pits to reservoirs – can make an important contribution to the green energy revolution in Europe and diffuse the heated debate on the use of land in EU member states.
The enormous advantages of Floating-PV, such as minimising evaporation by covering the water surfaces, comparatively easy installation and maintenance and the large potential areas that can be used, quickly pay off the somewhat higher installation costs of Floating-PV systems compared to ground-mounted solar systems of the same size. Floating-PV for areas of 50 hectares or more will soon be feasible in southern Europe without any subsidies or state funding.
The reduction in evaporation through Floating-PV systems can play a decisive role in the more southern regions of Europe, especially for hydraulic or pump storage facilities and water reservoirs. With this technology, owners of artificial lakes can basically get additional benefit from their otherwise underused bodies of water.
BayWa r.e. is a step ahead in when it comes to transforming unused bodies of water into high-efficiency Floating-PV systems. As a full service provider, we handle everything from project development, planning, procurement, financing and turnkey construction, right through to the commissioning and operational management.
- Planning and technical consulting
- Reporting and analysis
- Project development
- Procurement from long-term partners
- Turnkey construction
- Direct marketing
- Power purchase agreements (PPAs)
- Operational management
The market leader in Floating-PV
Having already successfully realised our pilot Floating-PV system with 2.1 MWp, we have developed and built installations in the Netherlands with a total capacity of 8.4 MWp and 14.5 MWp.
With our fourth “Bomhofsplas” Floating-PV project, we put an additional 27.4 MWp on water in March 2020 and, with this, we realised the largest Floating-PV system in the world outside of China.
Image gallery of our Floating-PV parks
We are proud to be part of this innovative project and are happy that the part of our water surface without sand extraction activities now offers new benefits. This development fits in perfectly with our ambition to be climate neutral by 2030. We look forward to many years of good cooperation with BayWa r.e. as a professional, reliable partner.
Our certified Floating-PV solution
Having determined that no existing Floating-PV system on the market met BayWa r.e. standards, we partnered with the renowned engineering experts at Zimmermann PV-Stahlbau GmbH to develop a new substructure for Floating-PV systems that met our expectations and requirements in terms of electricity provision.
The result of this partnership was a robust and stable floating substructure named ZimFloat which we could use for efficient large scale installations. Its integrated system design is based on a fully certified electrical concept. Floating inverter boats, maintenance walkways, cable ducts, wave barriers and a patent-registered floating transformer station have also been integrated in the system.
This unique, VDE-certified system ensures especially high stability, a long operation lifetime along with simple and safe maintenance. The high module occupancy rate minimizes the required watersurface. The system is totally scalable and can be adapted for a wide range of project demands and environmental conditions. We recently received the Innovation Award for this innovative Floating-PV solution from pv magazine.
The BayWa r.e. Floating-PV Solution at a glance
- The ZimFloat substructure was used to bring BayWa r.e.’s highly standardized and fully VDE-certified system design on water
- Capable of withstanding high wind- and snow loads as well as waves according to the EN code
- Solid steel beams with Magnelis® coating for maximum corrosion resistance
- Solid anchoring, storm resistant up to 160 km/h
- Integrated inverter boats, cable ducts and wave barriers
- A floating transformer station. Our transformer stations use biodegradable, natural esters instead of oil, with tubs used for additional protection to prevent any esters from entering the water
- Stable walkways for maintenance work
- Pontoons are made of durable HDPE, which is safe to be used on drinking water
- All components are IP 65 certified and the cables are even suitable for underwater installations
- Suitable for use on any fresh water*
- Reduces evaporation
- Additional yield thanks to the water cooling effect
- Minimum footprint on the water
- Fewer losses due to shorter cables
- Prefabricated cable strings guarantee highest electrical safety and reliability
- Significant sunlight penetration and free water movement underneath the system
- No harm to water quality or marine- and bird-life
- No extra space needed onshore – only minimal required Medium voltage cables come to shore for the grid connection
- High-energy density per hectare
- Easy to install (majority of the assembly done onshore)
- Easily scalable to multiple megawatts
- Easy maintenance
* However, to avoid adverse effects on quality of life for nearby communities, we only install Floating-PV on artificial bodies of water, such as a sand extraction ponds, quarry lakes, irrigation reservoirs, hydroelectric dams, water treatment plants and freshwater reservoirs, aquaculture ponds, and even on floodplains.
With the BayWa r.e. Floating-PV solution, we have not only eliminated the typical problems of existing Floating-PV systems, but have also transferred our proven VDE-certified system design for ground-mounted installations to a water-based application. Our mission is to build subsidy-free Floating-PV parks in the coming years.