DNV pub­lish­es the world’s first rec­om­mend­ed guide­line for float­ing solar pow­er plants

The guide was devel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with 24 indus­try par­tic­i­pants. The guide­line(DNVGL-RP-0584) pro­vides gen­er­al­ly accept­ed guid­ance based on a list of tech­ni­cal require­ments to expe­dite the safe, sus­tain­able and sound design, devel­op­ment, oper­a­tion and decom­mis­sion­ing of float­ing solar pho­to­volta­ic (FPV) projects.

Float­ing solar pow­er is a promis­ing renew­able ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy in which solar mod­ules are installed on float­ing struc­tures on the sur­face of suit­able bod­ies of water. The tech­nol­o­gy offers great poten­tial for green ener­gy gen­er­a­tion, espe­cial­ly in areas where there is a short­age of avail­able land for large pho­to­volta­ic installations.

The wider appli­ca­tion of float­ing solar pow­er could spread, espe­cial­ly in coun­tries with high pop­u­la­tion den­si­ty and lim­it­ed open land, such as many Asian nations.

Fol­low­ing the first projects in 2006, installed capac­i­ty for float­ing solar pow­er was just 10 MW in 2015, but has accel­er­at­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly since then and will reach 2 GW towards the end of 2020. It is esti­mat­ed that the total glob­al poten­tial capac­i­ty for deploy­ing float­ing solar pow­er on arti­fi­cial inland waters alone could be as high as 4 TW, with an expect­ed pipeline of more than 10 GW by 2025.

While FPV is a promis­ing grow­ing indus­try, there are a num­ber of com­plex­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with installing float­ing solar arrays. The RP (Rec­om­mend­ed Prac­tice) pro­vides insight into the tech­ni­cal com­plex­i­ties of design, con­struc­tion and oper­a­tion on and in the water, par­tic­u­lar­ly with respect to elec­tri­cal safe­ty, moor­ing and berthing issues, oper­a­tion and main­te­nance, and the design of FPV equip­ment that can with­stand site-spe­cif­ic envi­ron­men­tal conditions.

Ditlev Engel, CEO of Ener­gy Sys­tems at DNV said, “Float­ing solar is an untapped, fast-grow­ing tech­nol­o­gy with enor­mous poten­tial, and I hope this rec­om­mend­ed prac­tice will dri­ve the adop­tion and scal­ing of this tech­nol­o­gy to accel­er­ate the pace of the ener­gy tran­si­tion. Work­ing with lead­ing com­pa­nies around the world gives investors and gov­ern­ments, as well as lead­ers from across the ener­gy indus­try, con­fi­dence that we have the abil­i­ty to accel­er­ate the tran­si­tion to a clean ener­gy future and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“This project, involv­ing both our renew­able ener­gy and float­ing struc­ture experts, is a per­fect exam­ple of the strength and depth of our new Ener­gy Sys­tems division.”

The JIP, which start­ed last sum­mer, looked at all aspects of devel­op­ing float­ing solar projects on inland water­ways and near the coast. It focus­es on five key top­ics: Site con­di­tion assess­ment, ener­gy yield pre­dic­tion, moor­ing sys­tems, float­ing struc­tures, per­mit­ting, and envi­ron­men­tal impacts.

DNV project man­ag­er Michele Tagli­api­etra said, “We have pro­duced this rec­om­mend­ed prac­tice to ensure har­monised and high qual­i­ty approach­es to the devel­op­ment of float­ing solar ener­gy projects to increase the con­fi­dence of investors, reg­u­la­tors and oth­er stake­hold­ers. The guide­lines of this rec­om­mend­ed prac­tice aim to increase qual­i­ty, min­i­mize risks and ulti­mate­ly increase con­fi­dence to avoid mis­takes and acci­dents that could slow down the poten­tial growth of this promis­ing market.

“It was a very col­lab­o­ra­tive effort for which we thank every­one involved. It’s encour­ag­ing to see every­one striv­ing to increase the qual­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty of this excit­ing industry.”

“As pio­neers of the float­ing solar mar­ket, we are pleased to see the work of the JIP team take shape in the form of this Rec­om­mend­ed Prac­tice. We believe this is a great step towards unlock­ing the poten­tial of float­ing solar instal­la­tions,” said Olivi­er Philip­part, direc­tor at Ciel & Terre Inter­na­tion­al, one of the 24 par­tic­i­pants in the project.

The RP focus­es on method­ol­o­gy to keep the RP as tech­nol­o­gy neu­tral as pos­si­ble and pro­vide func­tion­al require­ments, rec­om­men­da­tions and guide­lines. It has a holis­tic sys­tem-lev­el approach that includes indi­vid­ual key com­po­nents as well as pro­ce­dures and design con­sid­er­a­tions, and focus­es on FPV projects in inland and nearshore waters.