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

Dutch-Norwegian floating PV pioneer SolarDuck will team with Italian developer New Developments and Green Arrow Capital to advance the 540MW Corigliano project in the Gulf of Taranto off Calabria.

The plant – which the partners hope to get into service as soon as 2028 – will combine 120MW of SolarDuck’s floating solar modules with 28 floating turbines to add a further 420MW. The PV element will pump out some 160GWh a year, it's claimed.

The scale of the offshore solar element marks a big step-up in ambitions for a sector that is already planning deployments in the North Sea and in Asia. SolarDuck itself in 2022 claimed a new benchmark for the sector with plans for a 5MW demonstrator off the Netherlands.

Linking offshore wind and floating solar is seen as a potential key addition to the arsenal of generation technologies deployable at sea, replicating efforts to match the complementary nature of turbines and PV modules that is driving hybrid development onshore.

The challenges of installing solar at sea are, however, far greater than the more benign conditions on lakes, reservoirs and inland waterways where the majority of the world’s installed floating solar capacity is located.

A report published in 2022 for Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO highlighted “significant technological hurdles” for offshore PV, including fouling and degradation of panels, and specific grid integration issues.

SolarDuck CEO Koen Burgers said: “With the current momentum, we believe this is a unique opportunity for the offshore renewable energy industry to help shape a favorable regulatory framework and facilitate the scaling of offshore floating PV. This is not just important for Italy, but also for other countries in the Mediterranean.”

The Corigliano project is currently in the Italian permitting system, along with a raft of giant floating wind projects aiming for deployment off the nation’s coasts.

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