Holland, always at the forefront of sustainable and pro-environment technology initiatives, once again surprises the world with a daring project that will increase its clean energy matrix: building the world's first floating solar power plant!
Named Zon-op-Zee ("Sun in the Sea"), the floating plant will be built entirely on the sea. China and the UK have already built solar power plants on water surfaces, but have done so in lakes and for academic purposes alone.
The Dutch solar plant will take three years to be built, with delivery expected until 2022. It is a partnership between the private sector, specialized research centers in the Netherlands and the European Union and the Amsterdam government.
According to Allard van Hoeken, founder of Oceans of Energy, a company that builds renewable energy plants, the Zon-op-Zee project will have 2,500 square meters of solar panels by 2022.
Allard van Hoeken, who was awarded the engineer of the year in 2015, said the project is challenging because it will have some challenges ahead, such as facing huge waves and other destructive forces of nature. The project is unprecedented and special, something similar has never been presented before. The plant has the support and financing of the Dutch government and the expectation is that the inauguration of the plant is in a maximum of three years.
The idea of the floating plant project came about because of the lack of land in the Netherlands, which did not allow big projects to get out of the country. Installing solar panels to generate clean energy on a platform in the middle of the sea was an innovative solution! If the project performs well, it is estimated that the production of energy at sea is 15% higher than that produced by land-based panels.
The National Solar Trends Report in 2018 shows that solar energy can cover up to 75% of the total energy supply in the Netherlands. The government of the country hopes that by 2050 all the homes have adopted some type of clean energy. This is an incentive for many countries!
A great advantage is that there is a lot of sun in the sea, and another benefit to the project is the cooling system for the panels, which increases production by up to 15%. The University of Utrecht is also contributing to the project, they will analyze the power production in the offshore prototype. The panels will be anchored between already existing wind turbines and connected to the same cables, transporting energy efficiently to the final consumers.
In addition to this project, Allard van Hoeken, founder of Oceans of Energy, said a consortium of energy producers, scientists and researchers plans to operate 2,500 square meters of floating solar panels in 2021. Other floating plant projects already occur in other regions of the world, such as in our own country, in the Amazon region, where another photovoltaic solar plant started to be produced.
The performance of solar panels will be up to 15% higher and more efficient than those that are in operation on land.
The University of Utrecht has been the institution responsible for scientifically supporting the entire scope of operations of the future floating solar power plant.
To endorse Zon-op-Zee's feasibility studies, the university invited experts in marine ecology who now monitor and evaluate the potential environmental impact of a solar power plant of such magnitude on the high seas.