The world’s largest floating solar platform is to be constructed in the Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West (HKW) VII. Developer SolarDuck selected Iv-Consult and Nevesbu to technically develop and optimise the innovative concept.

The wind farm is located approximately 53 kilometres off the coast of IJmuiden. The floating solar platform will be located between the wind turbines and is an innovative solution developed by the Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck.

The platform will consist of dozens of floating, interconnected triangular structures with solar panels and integrated storage solutions. RWE is investing in this floating innovation. Engineering companies Iv-Consult and Nevesbu are to ensure its installation at sea complies with all requirements.

Also read: SolarDuck to install floating solar plant in Malaysia

The floating solar platform

The solar platform to be constructed in the HKW VII wind farm will have a capacity of 5 MWp (Megawatt peak). The design is based on that of the Merganser offshore solar test platform. A prototype of 520 kWp (kilowatt peak) will soon be installed as a pilot 12 kilometres off the coast of Scheveningen in the North Sea.

The harsh North Sea environment in which the HKW VII wind farm is located is considered one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world. Iv and Nevesbu will further optimise the existing design for these conditions.

By placing the platform between the wind turbines, the space at sea is used as efficiently as possible, and the grid system already in place for the wind farm can also transport the solar electricity to shore. In addition, maintenance of both energy systems can also be carried out more efficiently.

Also read: SolarDuck to build Japan’s first offshore floating solar demonstrator

High potential worldwide

Realising large solar farms on land is becoming increasingly difficult. But at the same time, the demand for sustainable energy is ever-increasing and will remain so. The floating solar platform is a solution that can help electrify countries worldwide. A solution that maintains a secure supply of affordable, sustainable energy.

It is a particularly suitable solution for increasing the supply of sustainable energy in countries with lower average wind speeds, but higher solar irradiance.

Also read: SolarDuck builds 5-MW of floating solar power at Dutch offshore wind farm

From idea to sea

But how do you get such an innovative solution to work at sea? How do you achieve a reliable structure that will operate for at least thirty years without maintenance? And how do you ensure that the entire project can be safely installed offshore? In addition to the overall technical optimisation of the design, Iv-Consult and Nevesbu are advising SolarDuck on hydrodynamics (the motions the structure undergoes due to waves), anchoring and installation.

The engineering companies also ensure that the design is approved by the classification society. In harsh conditions at sea, structures are subject to fatigue and corrosion, among other things. In addition, the structure must be able to properly absorb the motions from the waves so that the systems on the structure (such as solar panels and subsystems) are not damaged.

The floating solar farm is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.