Ask for streamlined permitting to sustain growth of floating solar sector

Apr 14, 2021 04:59 PM ET
  • Solar sector gamers need to team up with governments and regulators to conquer floating PV allowing and bankability problems as well as unlock the potential of the innovation in Europe.
Ask for streamlined permitting to sustain growth of floating solar sector
Image: BayWa r.e.

That was one of the conclusions from a panel discussion at this week's Large Scale Solar Europe seminar, which likewise discovered the sites and also markets that reveal promise for creating brand-new floating solar projects.

While Eastern nations such as China, Taiwan and also Vietnam blaze a trail and also have actually already deployed a host of utility-scale floating PV plants, the technology is beginning to acquire grip in European markets such as the Netherlands, where German programmer BayWa r.e. has built more than 100MW of floating planetary systems.

Toni Weigl, item manager for floating PV at BayWa r.e., told the panel that business is seeking to release an additional 100MW this year, however stressed that permitting and licensing "should end up being less complex. The issue with floating PV is that it's something totally brand-new. The authorities and also the homeowners are not aware of floating PV."

Weigl claimed that in Germany, where BayWa r.e. is wishing to create floating projects this year, the issue is complicated by the various permitting treatments that specifies in the country have: "When you have actually located the individual or the authority who requires to handle the allowing, you have to educate them fairly intensively because every little thing is brand-new."

With the effect of floating solar projects on water biodiversity in some cases unclear, Harold Hofenk, team supervisor of energy as well as environment at Triodos Bank, thinks towns might be a lot more happy to provide permits if projects are improved manmade water bodies such as previous sandpits as well as commercial water areas.

Triodos has up until now funded 2 large-scale solar projects in the Netherlands as well as is working with 4 new ones that will be financed this year. Hofenk highlighted the importance of service warranties for floating platforms, which are sometimes supplied by startups, making it "a bit a lot more difficult". He said: "It's extremely crucial that the service warranty originates from an event that can birth the responsibilities from the service warranty."

While BayWa r.e. partnered with a design company to create its floating solar underpinning, Norwegian company Sea Sun has actually developed its very own floating modern technology based on a polymer membrane layer that is made use of to place PV modules.

Along with setting up floating projects on manufactured water bodies such as tanks, Sea Sun CEO Børge Bjørneklett promoted the potential of deploying near-shore systems at archipelagos with high power costs such as the Maldives and also Seychelles. Sea Sun lately signed an offer to give its technology for projects at Greek islands, where floating systems can offer even more budget friendly renewable energy and commonly change coal-fired generation, Bjørneklett said. "This is where you can get a large reduction in CO2 discharges by introducing floating solar."

In regards to permitting and licensing, Bjørneklett said it is "an issue of time" prior to regulators as well as federal governments get more used to floating solar, but with the modern technology spanning areas such as energy, water management and watering, he claimed federal government departments need to locate a means to work together to make sure that there is one body giving authorizations for floating systems.

Throughout the panel discussion, a module vendor's point of view was given by Vitor Rodrigues, primary technological service designer at LONGi Solar, that claimed the firm sees a "significant chance internationally, not just in Asia" for floating solar, but also demand from markets in Europe and also South America.

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