RWE, one of the world’s leading companies for renewable energy, has commissioned its first floating photovoltaic (PV) project. The project consists of around 13,400 solar panels that float on a lake near the Amer power plant in Geertruidenberg, in the Netherlands’ province of Noord-Brabant. The innovative solar field has an installed capacity of 6.1 megawatts peak (MWp). The floating project was the latest of three solar installations at the Amer power plant.
Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation and Country Chair for the Netherlands: ”With Solar Park Amer we demonstrate that it is possible to turn conventional asset sites into landmark projects that promote innovative solutions for a sustainable electricity system. The Netherlands are one of RWE’s strategic core markets and we continue to contribute to the growth of renewable energy, as well as to CO2 free, flexible capacity in the country.”
The solar panels float on a lake whose waters were once used as cooling water. The lake has not been used for that purpose for many decades, has no direct connection with the nearby Amer river and is therefore ideally suited for floating panels. To prevent the panels from drifting away in strong winds and colliding with the surrounding dike, they are anchored at 104 points to 52 concrete blocks sunk onto the bottom of the lake. These blocks weigh 4.6 tons each. A total of 25 kilometres of cable has been used to connect the panels electrically to the shore. The produced electricity is fed into the powers station’s grid.
Solar Park Amer
In 2018, RWE realised the first phase of Solar Park Amer, installing over 2,000 PV panels with 0.5 MWp on the roof of its power plant. In 2021, RWE further increased the capacity with ground-mounted PV installations. The 5,760 total panels have been in operation since last summer. With the commissioning of the floating project, the total capacity of Solar Park Amer has increased from 0.5 to 9 MWp. This is enough power to supply 2,300 average Dutch households.
Sustainable growth in the Netherlands
Besides its activities in solar, RWE has a well-established onshore wind business in the Netherlands. The company currently operates onshore wind farms with a total capacity of more than 330 megawatts (RWE’s pro rata share) in the country. In the last two years, four new onshore wind farms with more than 115 megawatt capacity have come on line or are now in the final stages of commissioning.
“We are dedicated to developing and implementing innovative solutions to advance the use of renewable energy. Our Amer floating photovoltaic project is the first of its kind for RWE, adding a new, promising technology to our portfolio. Realizing and operating this project deepens our knowledge about technical possibilities of floating PV, such as scalability and energy output.”