A consortium of 15 companies including German utility RWE and Dutch-Norwegian floating PV pioneer SolarDuck has won €6.8m of Horizon Europe funding to support development of a floating solar demonstration project to be located on the OranjeWind offshore wind farm in Dutch waters.

Nautical Sunrise, as the consortium is known, says the €8.4m ($7.4m) demonstrator project will pave the way "the world's largest offshore floating solar power installation".

Funding covering some of the research and development costs for offshore floating solar (OFS) systems and their components was granted under Horizon Europe, a multi-billion euro EU-led science funding programme covering research and innovation.

The project is intended to enable large-scale deployment and commercialisation of OFS systems in the future, both as standalone systems and integrated into offshore wind farms, according to a statement by the partners.

This demonstrator project aims to design, build, and showcase a 5MW offshore floating solar system using the modular system from SolarDuck.

RWE is providing investment for installation and deployment, and the system is planned to be electrically integrated, certified, and located within the utility's own OranjeWind array — also known as Hollandse Kust West VII —locatedoff the west coast of the Netherlands.

Prior to offshore deployment, the Nautical Sunrise consortium states that it will conduct "extensive research and testing to ensure the reliability, survivability, electrical stability, and yield of offshore floating solar systems".

"A comprehensive scale-up plan will address the challenges and create opportunities to drive forward the commercialisation of offshore floating solar systems," the consortium stated.

Nautical Sunrise said sustainability studies on environmental footprint, life cycle and circularity would cover not only the demonstrator project but also include multiple GW-scale commercial projects, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the technology's ecological implications".

SolarDuck’s CTO Don Hoogendoorn said the Horizon subsidy would allow the partners to "push the environmental boundary of the design."

Simon Stark, CTO of the Dutch Marine Energy Centre (DMEC), stated: "Not only do we have the chance to address important knowledge gaps around the design and environmental impact of offshore solar. Together with RWE and the OranjeWind consortium we can do so in full alignment and integration with a commercial offshore wind park.”


SolarDuck first set out its plans for a 5MW demonstrator off the Netherlands in 2022.

The company out a significant marker for upscaling just last week it announced that it will team up with Italian developer New Developments and Green Arrow Capita for the 540MW Coriagliano project in the Gulf of Taranto off Calabria, Italy.

This half-gigawatt floating solar and wind plant also aims to prove the two technologies can work at scale in hybrid to deliver huge amounts of green power, the project partners stated.

SolarDuck. A rendering of the planned floating offshore solar and wind plant off Holland. Photo: SolarDuck
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