Ocean Sun has been hired by utility giant Statkraft to build a 2MW floating solar installation at the Banja reservoir, in central Albania.
Pending final regulatory approval, the deal sealed between the Norwegian duo should see four 0.5MW PV units delivered between this year and next, at total costs of €2.3 million.
The installations represent the first major commercial contract for Ocean Sun, a floating PV specialist founded in 2016 and backed since by grant money from Innovation Norway and others.
The firm believes its design of choice – sea-anchored, thin-polymer membranes that can be towed around to adapt to the water environment – acts as a buffer against strong winds and other sources of mechanical stress. Contact with water helps cool off solar cells and boost performance compared to ground-mounted units, Ocean Sun said.
The floating park, supported under Albania’s feed-in-tariff programme, will sit at the reservoir that has hosted Statkraft’s 73MW hydropower plant since 2016.
According to Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, the floating PV technology may be rolled out across further locations if “it is proven successful” and achieves its “potential for cost-competitiveness.”
For the Norwegian utility, the news on Albania emerges amid a broader drive to take its PV portfolio past the 2GW mark by 2025. The goal, to be mostly delivered through European projects, has seen the firm sign PPAs with Iberian projects including BayWa r.e.’s.
Ocean Sun's CFO Bard Johansen and Statkraft's SVP for Solar are confirmed speakers at PV Tech's Large Scale Solar Summit, taking place in Lisbon on 26-27 March. See here for more information and tickets.