Your perfect partner when it comes to generating energy on water
Floating-PV and its Untapped Potential
Floating solar systems help landowners benefit from otherwise underused bodies of water, such as coal quarries, mineral extraction pits or reservoirs. Installation and maintenance are easy and safe, while the panels offer the benefit of a significant reduction in evaporation from the water surface.
Floating-PV for areas of 50 hectares or more will soon be feasible in southern Europe without any subsidies or state funding.
This will make an important contribution to the clean energy revolution and help to diffuse the heated debate on the use of land in EU member states.
BayWa r.e. is a market leader in Floating-PV systems, handling everything from project development, planning, procurement, financing and turnkey construction, right through to commissioning and operational management.
We have the expertise and innovation to deliver truly robust and safe systems
Our Certified Solution
We partnered with Zimmermann PV-Stahlbau GmbH to develop a brand new floating substructure called ZimFloat, since there were none on the market that met our quality expectations and requirements in terms of output.
ZimFloat is robust and stable, and can be perfectly integrated into our system design consisting of floating inverter boats, maintenance walkways, cable ducts, wave barriers and a patent-registered floating transformer station suitable for efficient, large-scale installations.
This unique, VDE-certified system ensures a stable output over a long operational lifetime and is simple and safe to maintain. The high module occupancy rate means maximum efficiency from any given system size.
The system is totally scalable and can be adapted for specific environmental conditions.
Watch our explainer video on how we design our Floating-PV system
Engineering, Procurement & Construction
Engineering, Procurement & Construction
We are proud to be part of this innovative project and are happy that the part of our water surface without sand extraction activities now offers new benefits. This development fits in perfectly with our ambition to be climate neutral by 2030. We look forward to many years of good cooperation with BayWa r.e. as a professional, reliable partner.
LMB Roelofs BV, owner of Tynaarlo sand pit
Driving the sector forward with investment, technology and new standards in best practice
The Market Leader in Floating-PV
Since bringing our pilot floating solar system online in the Netherlands in 2018, we have gone on to install Floating-PV systems with a total capacity of more than 180 MWp.
In 2020 we completed the largest Floating-PV system outside of Asia – our Bomhofsplas plant at 27.4 MWp – and then went on to better this with our 29.8 MWp project Uivermeertjes and with our 41.4 MWp project Sellingen in 2021. We also realised our first floating solar project in APAC region in Thailand with 2.8 MWp. And this was just the beginning…
Our Floating-PV Initiatives in Numbers
Limiting our carbon footprint through electrification and self-powered construction
Rethinking Floating-PV Construction
We take our own impact on the world very seriously and we have been striving to reduce the creation of CO2 while undertaking our construction projects.
We have been looking at ways to build our Floating PV parks using the parks own solar generated electricity. This means, the solar park is literally self-supplying its energy need throughout the construction process.
In addition to this we play particular attention to ensuring very high levels of recycling, which plays an important role in the circular economy.
By using electric heating and power tools, high levels of recycling and self-supplied solar energy and battery systems we are moving closer to achieving 100% carbon-free construction sites and on the road to a "zero emission" way of working.
With the BayWa r.e. Floating-PV solution, we have not only eliminated the typical problems of existing Floating-PV systems, but have also transferred our proven VDE-certified system design for ground-mounted installations to a water-based application. Our mission is to build subsidy-free Floating-PV parks in the coming years.
Head of Product Management Floating-PV
Making waves in solar energy
As we all know, solar power plays an integral role in generating the ‘green’ electricity which is helping to reduce carbon emissions in markets around the wold. While, historically, these PV installations are often ground, or rooftop based – Floating-PV delivers an alternative approach when there are already pressures on land use and availability.
The Netherlands is just one country which is now tapping into this form of electricity generation.
Frequently asked questions about our Floating-PV solution
- How does Floating-PV benefit lake owners?
You can actively advance your sustainability credentials. You can also benefit from long-term lease income on areas that previously only created costs. You can become the owner of the floating system, either by buying it or by hire purchase. The electricity can be used for your own consumption, enabling you to secure your energy costs for the long term and avoid possible CO2 taxes, or you can sell the electricity on to another company.
Operators of hydroelectric power stations benefit from dual use of the reservoir to maximise energy production. At high solar irradiation, the floating solar park delivers electricity; at low irradiation or at night, the hydro technology delivers electricity. Furthermore, a Floating-PV system will reduce evaporation from their reservoir, and the existing grid connection can be used, which lowers the cost of installation. A real win-win situation.
- What are the benefits of partnering with BayWa r.e.?
With more than 30 years of experience in the field of renewables, we draw upon extensive know-how. We are a quality-orientated, full-service provider with a strong financial background. Our parent company BayWa AG generates an annual turnover of 17.2 billion euros.
- Does the system impact marine life or birds?
We don’t expect any negative impact on fauna. At our first parks in the Netherlands, we can already see birds sitting on the system and resting just next to it. Qualitative and quantitative studies are currently under way.
- Is there any impact on water quality?
We have not seen any negative impact on water quality. Qualitative and quantitative studies are currently under way. With the patent-registered Zim Float, developed together with Zimmermann, we allow maximum water movement beneath the system. We expect less algae build-up due to moderate shadows underneath the construction – certain types of algae require substantial light to grow, so a reduction of these varieties might result.
Other varieties thrive in the shade, but we use a specific type of glass/glass modules in our system which let a lot of light through, so they only cast moderate shadows. We think this could create the ideal conditions for avoiding excessive growth of both kinds of algae.
- Is it possible to use the water for Floating-PV and other purposes (e.g. recreational use) simultaneously?
That would be possible in theory, but we are currently focusing primarily on bodies of water such as sand pits, coal mining areas and water storage facilities, which are not used for recreation or tourism. There are many unused areas of water that could assume a new function, making it unnecessary to use those with high recreational value or major visual impact, thus avoiding any conflict of interest with the current users.
- Is Floating-PV a proven technology?
Floating-PV is not a new technology, only a new application of an existing technology. Our Floating-PV systems fulfil all Eurocode standards and are certified by VDE. The system is based on the construction experience of BayWa r.e., who have installed more than 1 GWp. It is maintained by BayWa r.e.’s O&M unit and ensures investors a smooth operation over the lifetime of the project. Due to our position monitoring, we make sure to always determine the exact location of the Floating-PV system, which further increases the safety.
For those investing in Floating-PV from BayWa r.e., the return, risk and administration are no different than when investing in ground-mounted projects, as all the particulars are handled by our experienced teams.
- How can you ensure the safety of the system and especially the safety of individuals using the water as a lake for swimming?
Our Floating-PV systems fulfil all electrical regulations relating to the installation of electrical systems. We install a perfect grounding system to protect the system from any electrical failures. Our systems are reviewed and certified by the independent company VDE and are compliant with all electrical regulations and standards. Furthermore, we focus on lakes that are not used for recreational purposes.
- What is the potential for Floating-PV in Europe?
According to a study by the World Bank, there is a potential of 204 GWp in Europe alone, if we use 10% of the man-made freshwater reservoirs.
Source: Where Sun Meets Water, Floating Solar Market Report, 2019 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, page 57, Graph.