Specifically, the new floating offshore solar energy array survived its first few months in the Dutch North Sea, including a cyclone.
The company informed that the system was increased in size in January from from 8.5kW to 17kW, and further expansion to 1MW is planned for the modular system.
A characteristic of the system is the use of space in existing and planned offshore wind farms. Also, the company's Founder and CEO Allard van Hoeken commented that offshore solar could provide half of the Netherlands total energy demand using less than 5% of the Dutch North Sea, as the Netherlands cannot run 100% on sustainable energy.
There is not enough space on the land for that
... Allard van Hoeken commented.
It is added that the system could support a 100MW system, while the two different power sources could make use of the same grid connections and maintenance plans.
In the meantime, van Hoeken stated that
The great thing about the combination of offshore sun and offshore wind turbines is that you can generate five times as much energy on the same part of the sea, and by combining these two you get a more stable and continuous power generation: it blows harder in winter and there is more sun in the summer.
The system is safe concerning the marine environment, as it is said to not affect the organisms living on the sea floor, such as plankton.
The system also provides additional options, such as fishing, given that the floating installations serve as protected habitat for juvenile fish and facilitate the growth of mussels at sea and seaweed. Oceans of Energy is actively collaborating with the aquaculture sector on research in this area.
By having the first offshore solar system operational in one of the roughest seas in the world, we expect to create a large positive impact worldwide,” says van Hoeken. “Currently we are progressing towards the next phase, the upscaling phase. We are now raising the investments required
... van Hoeken concluded.
Overall, the Netherlands is a pioneer when it comes to solar energy. In 2019, the Central Government Real Estate Agency (RVB), Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority plan to construct a new floating solar farm in Rotterdam's western port area, while another consortium consisting of Tractebel, Jan De Nul Group, DEME, Soltech and Ghent University announced the launch of a new project in the field of marine floating solar technology.