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Case Study

Making waves in solar energy

Setting the scene

As we all know, solar power plays an integral role in generating the ‘green’ electricity which is helping to reduce carbon emissions in markets around the wold. While, historically, these PV installations are often ground, or rooftop based – Floating-PV delivers an alternative approach when there are already pressures on land use and availability. 

The Netherlands is just one country which is now tapping into this form of electricity generation.

Meeting the Challenge

Our 27.4 MWp floating solar project at Bomhofplas is a textbook example of how an existing body of water, in this case a disused sandpit, can be used as site for this relatively new application form of a highly established technology (solar energy). 

Built on 18.25 hectares (around the size of 25 football fields) and comprising 73,000 panels, the project was completed in a record-breaking seven weeks in the spring of 2020.  

Construction took place on the lake shore, powered by a ‘satellite’ installation of Floating-PV its construction was almost completely carbon-free. The panels, inverters and transformers were all towed out and installed on the water, meaning there was no need for excavations on the shore. Maintenance, repairs or replacements can all also take place ‘in situ’, on the water. 

We developed a state-of-the-art, VDE certified Floating-PV solution, this involved working closely with Zimmermann PV-Stahlbau GmbH to design the substructure. This new system eliminated the common problems that usually arise with existing systems on the market.

Supported by the east-west configuration and design of the panels maximises the potential yield throughout the day, and provides shade, helping to reduce evaporation, a benefit for reservoirs in particular. 

Getting the result

The speed of construction meant Bomhofsplas was able to quickly start contributing to the Netherlands’ carbon reduction goals. 

Anchored to the lake bed rather than to the shore, and with plenty of space for water flow and light penetration around the panels, the installation has a minimal impact on the water and marine environment. 

Careful monitoring will now take place over the coming months and years to measure any impacts, and bio-huts are being installed to provide additional shelter to small fishes and vertebrates. 

When it comes to Floating-PV you have to use the right long-lasting technology. Thanks to our expertise and innovation, we have developed a system that is creating renewable energy opportunities for under used lakes such as disused quarries, mineral extraction pits and reservoirs.

Toni Weigl
Head of Product Management Floating-PV at BayWa r.e.

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