2. May 2022

Floating solar power plant reduces carbon emission

A unique pilot project with floating solar panels was launched in mid-January 2022 in the Belgian Port of Oostende. The purpose is to test whether the technology works and especially whether the floating solar power plant can cope in changing weather conditions.

Greenpipe, with great support from project partner HelioRec, is proud to announce the successful installation of the floating solar plant. The 10kWp floating solar plant was installed on the 14th of January 2022 in the Port of Oostende as a part of the DUAL Ports EU program.

Greenpipe is the project partner to Dual Ports with Heliorec as a subcontractor for the installation and analysis.

The French-based startup HelioRec was founded by Polina Vasilenko in 2019. She is also CEO of the innovative company:

“The project during the current challenging time has been successful thanks to the great support from all parties. It engaged 10 companies from 7 countries. The floating solar plant in Ostend port helps us to improve technology, step closer to commercialization, and contribute to building the clean and sustainable European ecosystem”, said Polina Vasilenko.

The 10kWp (130 m2) floating solar project was built as a key part of the DUAL Ports EU-funded initiative. The system is designed for 44 m/s wind speed and 2 m waves.

During storm Corrie and Eunice in February the installation was tested with high windspeeds from 22 m/s to 32 m/s – and the innovative power plant survived the test.

“During storm Eunice and the tough conditions, the power plant produced 6.4kWh and could supply energy for lighting and heater in the workshop at Port of Oostende” said Polina Vasilenko.

Difficult installation

The floating solar panels were assembled at the harbour and lifted into the water with a crane.

“It was quite complicated and difficult as this wasn’t standard procedure. The installation was successful because of a high-level professionalism of Oostende Port team, and shortly after the installation solar power plant started to produce power,” said Polina Vasilenko from HelioRec.

The power from the solar panels is used in a nearby workshop where an old boat is undergoing restoration.

Port of Oostende facilitated the test site at the harbour and Jan Allaert from Port of Oostende is looking forward to following the testing of the floating solar power plant as it has great potential with floating solar panels in and around ports.

“We are very focused on the blue economy and innovation of new zero carbon energy solutions and we are a hub for testing solar power. Solar power has a big potential, and it is important to test the various solutions,” said Jan Allaert, commercial manager Port of Oostende.

Test in two phases

The test in Port of Oostende is in two phases. Until July 14, the 130 m2 solar panels will be tested in the inner harbour behind the lock and after July 14th the floating solar power plant will be moved out of the inner harbour and onto the other side of the lock.

Among other things, the impact of the tidal difference will be tested here.

Energy storage added

Late February Heliorec added an energy storage system (ESS) to the floating solar power plant.

ESS is a specific type of power system that integrates a power grid connection with a Victron Energy Inverter/Charger, GX device, and battery system. It stores solar energy into a battery during the day, for use later when the sun stops shining.

HelioRec sees great potential in floating solar panels in and around ports and at high sea.

“Market potential is huge, and we are ready to launch large facilities into commercial operation. Our system is ready,” says Polina Vasilenko.

Solar panel reduces cost and emission

In this small-scale pilot preliminary results shows that the floating solar panels is producing more electricity than the workshop could consume.

From mid- to april 1st 486 kWh was consumed and that reduced carbon emission with approx. 115 kg and electricity costs with approximately 145 euro.

Project benefits:

  • Saving land space
  • Clean energy
  • Grid dependence reduction
  • System movement analysing and correlation
    with energy production

See more details on the floating solar panels in this document

More info here, here and here