DNV has developed a floating offshore solar field concept coined “SUNdy,” that was unveiled during International Energy Week in Singapore. The core feature of the concept is a hexagonal array which floats on the sea surface. A collection of these arrays, totaling 4,200 solar panels, forms a solar island the size of a large football stadium, capable of generating 2 MW of power. Multiple islands connected together make up a solar field of 50 MW or more, producing enough electricity for 30,000 people.
“The renewable energy market is rapidly changing due in main part to climate change, soaring global demand for electricity, and diminishing fossil fuels,” said Bjørn Tore Markussen, COO for DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability in Asia. “For DNV, technological innovation is a key element in our strategy to help address these concerns and SUNdy, as an example of our research work, can help illustrate future applications for solar as a truly sustainable resource.”
Sanjay Kuttan, Managing Director of the DNV Clean Technology Centre in Singapore says the SUNdy technology uses a thin-film 560 watt solar panels that are lighter and more flexible than traditional rigid glass-based modules. This allows the panels to undulate, or move with the waves on the ocean’s surface. Separating the solar arrays into prefabricated sections allows for large scale manufacturing and streamlined assembly offshore while the cable grid provides for maintenance access in the form of floating gangways. Below the surface, the shape of the island is maintained by the tensile forces from the lengthy spread mooring.
“The island has been optimized for solar capability and cabling efficiency,” added Kevin Smith, Global Segment Director for DNV KEMA’s Renewable Energy Services. “The solar arrays are divided into electrical zones feeding electricity produced into two main switches collecting the power for voltage step up at a central transformer (2MVA 480/34.5kV). From the offshore solar farm’s central island, 30kV electrical transmission lines connect, tying other islands in series to form a close loop and continue to the electrical sub-station onshore for grid connection.”