German renewables developer BayWa re and Dutch partner GroenLeven have built 14.5MW floating solar farm near the city of Zwolle, said to be the biggest in the Netherlands.

The Sekdoorn project, constructed in only six weeks, will power almost 4,000 households in the region. It is BayWa re’s third in the country, after the 2MW Weperpolder and 8.4MW Tynaarlo, all of which have been designed with Zimmermann PV-Stahlbau.

BayWa re said it is planning further floating PV projects in the country with a target of total output of around 100MW.

“In only a few months we built 25MWp of floating PV projects in the Netherlands,” said BayWa re’s global head of solar project Benedikt Ortmann.

“Those installations are an important extension to ground-mounted facilities and a smart contribution to improve the so called “double function” applications for solar, such as AgriSolar, Carports, building integrated PV and rooftop PV.”

Floating solar farms can be used on a wide variety of bodies of water – reservoirs, fish farms and former open-cast lignite mines.

Ortmann noted that “as well as our pipeline in the Netherlands, we are already working on floating PV projects in Germany, France, Italy and Spain – the potential in Europe is indeed significant.”

He pointed to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Research’s calculations that floating PV installations on decommissioned coal mining lakes could total 15GW in Germany alone, while a World Bank Group had identified a potential for Europe of 20GW “if only 1% of the surface of man-made freshwater reservoirs will be used”.

Ortmann noted: “We’ve proven that floating solar is technically manageable and comes with only slightly higher cost than ground-mounted systems.”