Ocean Sun and Fred Olsen bag EU funding for a challenging FPV Pilot Project in the Canary Island Region

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Ocean Sun, a Norwegian innovative FPV (Floating Photo-Voltaic) Tech organisation, and Fred Olsen Renewables have been awarded EC-funds, for a 0.25 MWp Floating PV project in “open seas”, off the coast of Gran Canaria. The project is awarded to these two Norwegian innovative renewable companies along with other partners to perform state-of-the art analyses, laboratory tests and build a full-scale 0,25MWp floating solar power unit in the harsh environment of “open seas”, off the coast of Gran Canaria, under the Horizon 2020 program.

Ocean Sun CEO in an interview with Solar Edition describes their patented FPV technology as a special float that is based on a thin polymer membrane. This is used to mount PV modules directly on it. The special characteristic of the Ocean Sun’s design in addition classic FPV benefits are real water cooling (direct thermal contact to water with no air in between) and compact modular design which is easily packed and transformed, he added.

“With waves of up to 10 metres and high winds, the pilot project is an excellent opportunity to explore the outer limits of the floating technology”, added Dr. Børge Bjørneklett, CEO of Ocean Sun. The project will also serve to qualify and certify Ocean Sun’s patented floating solar technology for off-shore applications in non-sheltered locations. The project has already started. “There’s a lot of testing beforehand, with experiments passing basin laboratory tests in tanks where we can simulate the big waves and build confidence with a small-scale model of the product.”

Ocean Sun has another major project in the pipeline in South Korea, which has gotten delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent measures. When asked about the comparison between the Korean and Canary Island project, Børge said “the projects have different characteristics in design, as Korea has waves up to 2 meters whereas the Canary Inland project will have waves upto 10 meters.” When asked about its competitors, He said that “although Korea has only 2 meter high waves, you will struggle with mainstream pontoon systems, due to mechanical issues in the interconnects between the floats. We have seen a lot of damage because of these issues in Japan where the panels caught fire due to the typhoon(Faxai). It’s not only this one, but it has happened several times”. He acknowledged that, “Now we have competitors such as Baywa, Moss maritime (Equinor) and Current Solar.” Equinor recently announced a project with Moss Maritime which will be installed later this year, and the plant will sit 3 metres above the sea surface and supply electricity to the power grid on the island of Frøya.

Another important question which was asked was whether the Ocean Sun Technology is commercially ready. “What’s critical for FPV is to make it cost effective in terms of Capex per watt installed. Dr. Bjørneklett said. “If SN Aboitiz Power makes the expansion from its current capacity to 67 MW in the Philippines, it will be a large utility project for us. Also the 2 MW project for Statkraft in Albania is a good full-scale demonstrator.” He further added, “But we are close to being commercial. Not truly yet, but we are approaching it, at least for freshwater systems.For salt-water and high wave regions, the bankability has yet to be improved. But we have good experience with running systems in Norway.

He further went on to explain the advantages that Ocean Sun’s patented technology has over its competitors. Ocean Sun has developed an innovative cooling mechanism which can improve efficiency, while also bringing down the component and transportation costs 

The Canary Island project has a duration of 30 months and a total budget of 4 million euros. The other partners in the consortium are Fred Olsen Renewables, Innosea, the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (ITC) and the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN).

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Source:@Solar_Edition @Ocean Sun

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