Expansion of offshore solar farm in North Sea

Published: 15 November 2021

Offshore Scheveningen (NL), there is a trial system of interconnected solar panels that have managed to cope with waves and wind for two years. The initiators, Oceans of Energy, are going to expand the offshore solar system to a yield of 1MW.

Working with Deltares and other partners, a range of knowledge questions are being investigated relating to the harvesting of offshore solar energy. Oceans of Energy wants to scale up this system further in the coming years to 10 MW and then to 100 MW, the equivalent of energy for 30,000 households.

Solar-panel test array in the Delta Flume

A test array with the floating solar panels will be exposed in the Delta Flume at Deltares to waves similar to those seen in the North Sea. Roderik Hoekstra, a hydraulic engineer at Deltares: “The sea is not the easiest place to build a floating solar farm. Waves really stress the solar panels. In the Delta Flume, we will be measuring, among other things, the magnitude of those forces and how we can optimise the configuration of the solar panels on the floating platforms. The results will allow us to draft design guidelines.” In addition, Deltares is looking at whether the solar panels have a damping effect on waves. In that way, we can find out whether favourable conditions can be created for aquaculture, for example. Oceans of Energy envisions installing the solar panels in wind farms to make effective use of this space. Hoekstra: ”The benefits increase if more functions can be linked to the solar farm. We are looking for the win-win situation. At this stage, things are starting to get a bit more concrete.” The tests in the Delta Flume will take place in the spring of 2022.

In addition to the technical research in the Delta Flume, Deltares will also play a coordinating role on getting a range of offshore stakeholders involved in the project. Mapping out the concerns and opportunities with regard to ecology will be central here.