RWE Offshore Wind GmbH

SolarDuck and RWE successfully install offshore floating solar pilot Merganser off Dutch coast

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  • Merganser, a 0.5 MWp offshore floating solar pilot, has been successfully installed at the North Sea Farmers offshore test site in the Dutch North Sea
  • Next steps include technical and environmental monitoring to further investigate the technology

Essen, 4 July 2024

With the support of RWE, the Dutch-Norwegian company SolarDuck, has installed its offshore floating solar (OFPV) project, Merganser. The pilot project aims to test and demonstrate the structural, mooring and electrical designs and acquire knowledge about manufacturing, assembly, offshore installation and maintenance methodologies required for large-scale commercial deployment of OFPV.

Merganser has a capacity of 0.5 megawatt peak (MWp) and is located in the Dutch North Sea, approximately 12 kilometers off the coast of Scheveningen. The scalable concept consists of 
six interconnected platforms that can withstand extreme offshore conditions. The floating platforms were successfully connected to the mooring system in water depth of 20 meters. RWE will continue to provide its offshore know-how and technical support to the pilot project.

Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind: “Standalone or also in combination with offshore wind farms, offshore floating solar could open up further offshore renewable energy opportunities – especially for countries with lower average wind speeds but lots of sunlight. With Merganser, we are gaining unique insights and first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world.”

Taking solar farms offshore requires technology that is able to withstand rough offshore conditions. SolarDuck´s triangular-shaped platform is designed to float several meters above the water, following the waves like a carpet. In this way, the design is keeping critical components dry, clean and stable, as well as securing the structural integrity of the semi-submersible floating structure. The design received recently the world’s first certification for OFPV by Bureau Veritas.

Koen Burgers, CEO SolarDuck: “The successful installation of Merganser is proof of the dedication of SolarDuck’s team to electrify the world with offshore floating solar. However, we are not doing this alone. Our project partner, RWE, is a supporter of our technology and vision, in addition to other partners such as TNO, TU Delft, MARIN, and Deltares. Together with numerous supply chain partners, including Damen Shipyards, TMA, and Norsk Hydro, we have turned hard work into a positive change for the energy space.”

The combination of RWE´s leading global market position in offshore wind and SolarDuck´s technological ingenuity sets the perfect base for accelerating the deployment of OFPV. Over the coming two years, Merganser will be monitored remotely with its more than 180 sensors fitted to monitor structural loads, connector and mooring loads and electrical performance, among other important performance criteria. Further to the above, Deltares - a Dutch independent institute for applied research - will support an extensive monitoring campaign on the ecological impact of OFPV.

Pictures for media use are available at RWE’s Media Centre (Credit: SolarDuck)

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