FLOATING SOLAR PANELS: A SOLUTION FOR ENERGY AND WATER MANAGEMENT GOALS

Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland, Blue 21, Hakkers BV and TU Delfst recently signed an agreement to collectively realize a revolutionary method for generating solar energy on water.

The project operates under the name INNOZOWA, which is derived from the Dutch product description: innovatieve (innovative) zon-pv (Solar PV; solar panels) op (on) water (water). The intention is to develop a flexible design and make optimal use of the available surface area, all at a competitive price.

Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland uses new innovation to link its energy objectives to water management goals. Solar energy is an important source of renewable energy that can replace fossil fuels, and development of solar panels continues to evolve. However, the amount of land available for placement of solar panels is limited. At the same time, space in watery areas (estimated is that The Netherlands encloses around 52,000 hectares of inland waterways, excluding the larger lakes) offers enormous potential.

Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland initiated the INNOZOWA project to make more effective use of the above-mentioned surface area available. In close collaboration with its three other partners, each bringing its own expertise, the goal is to contribute to the energy transition and the water authorities’ Energy Neutral 2030 agreement. By means of a flexible design, making use of sustainable and relatively light materials, the partners are developing a competitive model for the existing Solar PV systems.

With this innovation, the Dutch Water Authority also aims to create opportunities for water management. Thus, within INNOZOWA, opportunities are examined to create added value for local ecology. Starting in the fall of 2018, a pilot system will be installed at the water reservoir in Weurt in the Nijmegen region. All partners expect that the pilot project will ensure sufficient data and experience to be able to upgrade the project at a later stage.

The INNOZOWA consortium partners are Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland (coordinator), BLUE21 (social enterprise, specialized in building on water), Hakkers BV (experienced hydraulic engineering contractor) and TU Delft research group Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD), DC-to-AC side energy yield modeling.

INNOZOWA is supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch: RVO) by means of a Renewable Energy subsidy.