Certification and engineering company DNV has published what is claimed to be the world’s first recommended practice (RP) for floating solar power projects.
The standard has been developed following a collaborative joint industry project (JIP) involving 24 industry participants.
The JIP, which kicked off last summer, reviewed all aspects of developing floating solar projects on inland and near-shore waters. It focuses on five key topics: site conditions assessment, energy yield forecast, mooring and anchoring systems, floating structures, permitting and environmental impact.
The Recommended Practice (DNVGL-RP-0584) will provide commonly recognised guidance based on a list of technical requirements for accelerating safe, sustainable and sound design, development, operation and decommissioning of floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) projects.
DNV project manager Michele Tagliapietra said: “We created this recommended practice to ensure harmonised and quality approaches in developing floating solar power projects to increase confidence from investors, regulators and other stakeholders. The guidance of this recommended practice aims to increase quality, minimize risks and ultimately increase trust, avoiding failures and accidents which may put a break on the potential growth of this promising market.”
The wider adoption of floating solar power could scale up particularly in countries that have high population density and limited spare land, such as in many Asian nations.
Following the first projects in 2006, installed capacity for floating solar power was just 10MW by 2015 but has accelerated considerably since then, reaching 2GW towards the end of 2020. It is estimated that the total global potential capacity for deploying floating solar power on manmade, inland waters alone could be as high as 4TW with an expected pipeline of more than 10GW by 2025.
While FPV is a promising growing industry, there are a number of complexities associated with the installation of floating solar plants.
Ditlev Engel, CEO of Energy Systems at DNV, said: “Floating solar is an untapped, fast-growing technology with huge potential and I hope this recommended practice will drive the adoption and scaling of this technology to accelerate the pace of the energy transition. With collaboration from leading companies around the world, it provides critical reassurance to the likes of investors and governments as well as leaders from across the energy industries that we are able to transition faster to a clean energy future and realize the goals as per the Paris agreement.
“With input from both our renewables and floating structures experts, this project perfectly demonstrates the strength and depth of our new Energy Systems business area.”