Floating PV projects have become increasingly popular as floating solar parks result in a decreased requirement for valuable land as well as the potential to link projects to reservoirs used for hydro. Floating solar projects are on the rise in the UK, Germany, Greece, and Portugal with RWE, BayWa, and EDP leading the charge in the development of European floating PV farms. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Research outlined the potential for floating PV farms in Germany particularly, with the possibility of developing 15GW on decommissioned coal mining lakes. The electricity produced by floating projects is at a higher cost than traditional mounted PV projects however, these are expected to fall as technology improves. It is estimated that floating PV projects will reach a global capacity of 62GW by 2030, which is a 60GW increase from 2019. Therefore, it is clear large-scale investments and project development will take place in the coming years as countries aim to exploit floating PV in order to achieve Net-Zero goals.
1) Encavis (Germany)
The Hamburg-based renewable investment firm was founded in 2017 as a result of a merger between Capital Stage AG and Choros Clean Energy AG. In 2020, Encavis acquired 7 Dutch solar farms from BayWa with an installed capacity of 80MW. The portfolio included a 21.8MW solar farm near Groningen airport and the Tynaarlo and Sekdoorn floating solar farms with a total capacity of 23MW. The floating parks were the 2nd and 3rd floating PV farms developed in the Netherlands respectively. The projects were developed through a partnership between BayWa and national renewable project developer GroenLeven.
2) Greenbacker Capital (United States)
The renewable energy investor is based in the Empire State and their portfolio consists of solar, wind, and battery projects. In January 2022, Greenbacker announced their first investment in floating PV projects through their partnership with floating solar developer, Noria Energy. The California-based group were founded in 2018 and specialise in solar development with expertise in floating PV projects. In 2021, Noria were responsible for the development of the largest floating PV project at the time with their floating PV farm in Sonoma County. Greenbacker Capital aims to be a key player in the US floating PV sector and will support Noria’s future projects through an affiliated fund.
3) Statkraft (Germany)
The German group are one of the leading developers of renewable energy in Europe and boasts years of market experience. In June 2021, Statkraft first entered the floating PV market through a €2m investment in Norwegian floating solar developer Ocean Sun. The investment was used to develop a 2MW Albanian pilot floating PV project where Statkraft currently operates their 72MW Banja hydro plant. The project suffered a setback in June 2021 as the floating PV panels suffered damage but operations were resumed in April 2022. Statkraft aims to expand their floating PV assets with the development of an additional 3 floating projects with a total capacity of 1.5MW.
Image Source Unsplash 28.06.2022