A new project of floating solar panels in Albania

Floating solar panel projects are multiplying around the world. Technbusiness presented the development project of this technology via a consortium including EDF, Equinor, Statkraft and EDP. Statkraft is particularly invested in floating solar panel technology. Indeed, the Norwegian company will build a 2 MW network on the reservoir of its hydroelectric power plant in Banja, Albania

A new project of floating solar panels in Albania

The birth of the project

Norway’s Statkraft plans to begin construction of a floating solar power plant with a maximum capacity of 2 MW at the Banja reservoir in southeastern Albania by the end of June, SeeNews reveals.

“Now that all regulatory approvals are in place, we have issued a notice to proceed to Ocean Sun to implement the first phase of the project. We look forward to starting construction by the end of June,” said Tom Kristian Larsen, senior advisor for intellectual property strategy and asset management at Statkraft.

The Banja hydroelectric power plant in Albania (source: Statkraft)

The construction process

The project, with a total investment cost of approximately 2 million euros, will include two construction phases.

In the first phase, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, Statkraft’s supplier, Norwegian floating solar technology developer Ocean Sun, will deliver a complete 0.5 MWp DC floating system to the reservoir.

The second phase will see Statkraft add three additional 0.5 MWp floating units in 2021, bringing the total solar capacity of the Banja reservoir to 2 MWp.

Starkraft continues its development in Albania

Statkraft, a leading international hydropower company and Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, is present in Albania through its wholly owned subsidiaries Devoll Hydropower and Statkraft Renewables Albania.

The actors of the floating solar panels project in Banja

The companies involved in the project

Ocean Sun is a Norwegian company developing a new technology for floating solar energy. This technology is an effective, low-cost and sustainable solution. It is based on modified silicon solar modules deployed on flexible floats.

Statkraft is an energy company, 100% owned by the Norwegian state. Statkraft Statkraft, Europe’s leading producer of renewable energy. Statkraft produces electricity from wind power, natural gas, hydro power and solar power.

Ocean Sun’s floating solar panel technology

Ocean Sun has developed a unique technology of floating solar panels “in trampoline”. Unlike other floating solar panel designs, which rely on individual floats connected together, the Ocean Sun design allows a large number of panels to be attached to the membrane as a modular unit, which typically includes a rigid perimeter frame for anchoring.

This technology has been purchased by Statkraft’s Albanian unit for deployment at the Banja reservoir in Albania. The contract is the first major commercial sale of Ocean Sun’s floating solar technology, and the project will demonstrate the viability of the technology.

Ocean Sun’s floating solar panel technology (source: Ocean Sun)

The emergence of floating solar energy technologies

Floating solar panels: a technology of the future

The World Bank’s 2018 report on floating solar – which focuses on hydro, water reservoirs, and land-based facilities – concluded that the potential for the technology was 400GW, even under conservative assumptions. With the development of the coasts and the high seas, the market would be enormous.

While floating solar remains an emerging technology, land-based installations are seen as an increasingly attractive option for large-scale deployment of PV systems on reservoirs and adjacent to hydroelectric facilities, particularly where land is limited.

Floating solar panel technology fits Statkraft’s strategy

Testing a new technology for floating solar panels fits perfectly with Statkraft’s strategy, says GlobeNewswire. This is aimed at developing the company’s renewable energy production from hydroelectricity, wind power and solar energy. If the technology is successful and the potential for cost competitiveness can be achieved, wider application of floating solar power can also take place at other Statkraft sites.

“Ocean Sun is very pleased to begin construction of Statkraft. The project represents the first large-scale installation in southern Europe and an important step in our quest for clean and affordable energy from floating solar power worldwide,” says Børge Bjørneklett, CEO of Ocean Sun.

Current floating solar panel projects around the world

The largest such project is currently a 150 MW development in Anhui, China, but, as reported by Recharge News, it will soon be eclipsed by massive developments elsewhere in the world, including a 1 GW plant in India and a sprawling 2.9 GW complex off the coast of South Korea.

Europe has made strides in recent months to develop the market for “high wave” floating PV systems, with several projects under development for open ocean sites.

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