Equinor to Test Floating Solar Off Froya
Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) has revealed that it will test floating solar power off the island of Froya, in Norway, together with Moss Maritime.
The plan is to build a floating pilot plant off Froya near Trondheim in the late summer of 2021, according to Equinor, which highlighted that this would be the world’s first pilot plant for floating solar power in rough waters.
The company, which has already filed an application with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, noted that the municipality of Froya has been positive to, and is involved in, the planning of the pilot plant. It is currently expected that the pilot will be tested for a minimum of one year. The purpose of the pilot plant is not primarily to see how much energy it can produce, but how the weather conditions affect the plant, Equinor outlined.
“If we succeed here, we can succeed anywhere,” Hanne Wigum, the head of Equinor’s technology unit focusing on wind and solar power, said in a company statement.
“The municipality of Froya has been a good collaboration partner for us. We have reached an agreement with the grid owner, allowing the electricity that is produced to enter the power grid on Froya,” Wigum added.
“In addition, the nearness to our research center in Trondheim, and the expertise possessed by the Sintef and NTNU research institutions, represent an advantage for us,” the Equinor representative went on to say.
Alexander Thogersen, the vice president of engineering at Moss Maritime, said, “we have been working on this concept for the past three years, most recently through our partnership with Equinor, and the concept has been substantially matured, both technically and economically”.
“The floating pilot plant will be an important step on the road towards technology commercialization, and an important arena for further development and optimization of the concept,” he added.
Froya Mayor Kristin Furunes Stromskag said, “it is very exciting that Froya has been chosen as the host municipality for the testing of new renewable energy sources, such as solar power”.
“With our natural conditions, we are a good location for a full-scale pilot plant within research and development”, Stromskag added.
Equinor is currently testing two other floating solar projects. One is offshore Sri Lanka in calm waters, which is being tested to decide how to produce as much energy as possible. The other is a project in the Netherlands. Here, three different floating solar power concepts are being tested on a lake, which is said to be providing important knowledge about the resilience and predictability of production under rougher conditions.
Equinor describes solar as one of the forms of renewable energy with the greatest growth potential. global solar business has grown by approximately 50 percent per year over the last ten years, Equinor highlights on its website.
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