BayWa r.e. commissions largest two floating solar projects outside Asia

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The 41.1MWp Sellingen plant was constructed on a former sand extraction lake. Image: BayWa. r.e.

German renewables developer BayWa r.e. has completed two installations in the Netherlands totalling 71MWp that it says are the largest floating PV plants outside of Asia.

The company, together with its Dutch subsidiary GroenLeven, has commissioned its largest floating PV project to date, the 41.1MWp Sellingen park, as well as the 29.8MWp Uivermeertjes project.

Built on former sand extraction lakes, the installations were constructed on the deepest part of the water bodies to protect the flora and fauna in the banks. BayWa r.e. said studies have confirmed the plants have no negative effects on the surrounding environment.

Commissioning of the projects brings BayWa r.e.’s floating PV portfolio in Europe to 11 projects that have a combined capacity of more than 180MWp and feature 300,000 panels. The company last year completed and sold what was its largest floating PV plant – the 27.4MWp Bomhofsplas farm – and has since finalised work on another two plants totalling 29.2MWp of capacity.

“In order to meet vital climate targets in this crucial decade that matters, we must expand the renewable generation mix – floating PV is a key element of this,” said Benedikt Ortmann, global director of solar projects at BayWa r.e.

As it bids to take advantage of falling construction costs and increasing demand for floating projects among asset owners, BayWa r.e. is aiming to deploy around 500MW of floating PV capacity in the coming years.

Speaking during the Large Scale Solar Europe conference in April, Toni Weigl, product manager for floating PV at BayWa r.e., said the company is looking to build on its success in the Netherlands and build floating plants in Germany this year. However, with some authorities not familiar with floating solar projects, he said permitting issues “must become simpler”.

BayWa r.e earlier this year completed a transaction that saw it sell a 49% stake in the business to Swiss investor Energy Infrastructure Partners for €530 million (US$642.3 million). The developer is planning to contstuct solar and wind projects with a total capacity of 1.1GW in 2021.

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