Solar photovoltaics (PV) has become the world’s fastest growing energy technology, with the annual global market surpassing the 100 gigawatt (GW) level for the first time in 2018 and a cumulative capacity of 583.5 GW in 2019. However, in order to produce large amounts of energy and avoid increasing energy transmission costs, solar power plants must be located close to demand centres. In addition, it is a problem to require vast areas of land near densely populated areas where energy is consumed. This is especially a problem in Europe, where solar PV plants are by far the smallest average size in the world.
Floating photovoltaic (FPV) plants have opened up new opportunities to address these restrictions on land. However, this market is currently concentrated on reservoirs and lakes. Offshore and near-shore FPV systems are found in the following areas
still at an early stage due to the additional challenges to be addressed in open sea conditions: waves and winds are stronger, which means that mooring, anchoring and dynamic loading capacity becomes even more critical due to the increased frequency of high wave and wind loads.
The BOOST project will address these challenges with a new FPV system inspired in part by the flotation and mooring technology that has been used for 20 years in the choppy Norwegian waters by the fish farming industry, combined with a disruptive and patented floating hydroelastic membrane (FPV).<1mm thick). The hydroelastic membrane is attached to an outer perimeter of floating tubes so that the float is not swept away by the mooring, even in strong currents, winds and waves, similar to the effect of oil in turbulent waters. By validating this technology in unprotected marine waters, the consortium expects to reach an installed capacity of 1,750 MW during the 5 years of the project (6.2% of the GHS), contributing to avoid the emission of 4,120 kt of CO2 (but each PV plant will last at least 25 years, so the long-term impact is 5 times higher). The project will generate cumulative benefits to the consortium in excess of EUR 94 million.