In only 8 weeks 40,000 solar PVs were installed on Floating PV Plants by BayWa r.e in August 2019. The project capacity was 14.5 MWp, and was named Sekdoorn, located near a city named Zwolle in the Netherlands.
The reason for BayWa r.e rapid construction speed is, the bespoke floating platform for the modules. These floating platforms were produced by a German engineering company named Zimmerman PV Stahlbau. The company had to develop a new system, the Zim Float system. Zim Float platforms are square-shaped solar panel boats with Huawei inverters. They also include maintenance walkways, cable ducts, wave barriers, and a floating transformer station. The main difference between the Zim system and other systems is that each of them consists of 12 modules packed in two floaters on a steel frame which ensures more stability.
The electrical components are fully integrated into the system. It also includes a grounding system that protects from electrical failures. The system meets all regulations and its cables and components can be used in water. BayWa has VDE certification (VDE-PB-0016-2:2016-11) for electrical safety and energy yield, installation quality, and planning compliance for solar farms. They are also certified by VDE for installing floating power plants and electrical systems on the water. According to Edgar Gimbel, head of power plant engineering at BayWa r.e “Floating solar is quite a young technology and for our first project we wanted the verification of a third party, that what we developed fitted with VDE, the market standard.”
The Zim system (boats) including floaters, steel frames, modules, and cabling will be built offshore. They attach nine of these boats together as “roller conveyor” and will be sent to the water row by row and with a motorboat, they take each row to the desired location. Another difference between the Zimo system and other systems is prefabricating the system onshore. Other systems only part of them will be constructed on the shore and installation of cabling happens on the water. This way is harder than prefabricating the system onshore. Gimbel also said that “Prefabrication makes it much easier to install, we are able to build up to 1MW per day, which is roughly 2,700 modules. It’s like building a car in a factory, it’s a lot of automized stuff,”. He also believes that with this new system Bomhofsplas project, their biggest project, will be finished in less than two months.
Although floating solar projects cost more than ground-mounted projects, due to high dutch feed-in tariff, these projects are still economical.
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Photo: @BayWa r.e. @Solar_Edition
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