Floating solar panels: a solution for energy and water management goals

18 Dec 2017

Recently, Rivierenland Water Board, Blue 21 BV, Hakkers BV and TU Delft signed an agreement for the joint realization of a revolutionary way of generating solar energy from water.

Under the name INNOZOWA, the project starts. The name stands for INNOVative ZOn-pv (solar panels) on WAter, which involves working on a flexible design, making optimal use of the available space and all this at a competitive price.

Water Board Rivierenland wants to innovate to link energy goals and water management goals. Solar energy is an important renewable energy source that can replace fossil fuels. The development of solar panels is therefore not standing still. However, the installation of solar panels on land is reaching a limit in the Netherlands. That while the space in the water-rich Netherlands (about 52,000ha of shallow inland water, excluding the large lakes) has enormous potential.

That is why the Rivierenland Water Board is taking the initiative for this project. Together with the three other parties -each with their own specialism-, they are working on the energy transition and water board energy neutral 2030. Through a flexible design, using durable and relatively light materials, the parties are developing a competitive model for current solar PV systems.

With this innovation, the water board also wants to create opportunities for water management. For example, INNOZOWA is looking for ways to create added value for the ecology with the floating solar panels. From autumn 2018, a pilot installation will be installed at the water storage facility in Weurt (Nijmegen region). With the results of this pilot, the parties expect to have sufficient data and experience to further scale up the project.

The INNOZOWA consortium consists of Waterschap Rivierenland (lead party), Blue21 BV (a ‘social enterprise’ specialized in floating construction), Hakkers BV (experienced hydraulic contractor) and TU Delft – Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) research group, DC-to-AC side energy yield modelling.

INNOZOWA is a project supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) through a subsidy for Renewable Energy.

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