DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, an energy risk management provider, has developed SUNdy, a large-scale offshore solar field concept.
SUNdy features a hexagonal array that floats on the sea surface. A collection of these arrays, totaling 4,200 solar panels, forms a solar island capable of generating 2 MW of power. Multiple islands connected together make up a solar field of 50 MW or more, the company explains.
The technology uses thin-film 560 W solar panels that are flexible and lighter than traditional rigid glass-based modules, allowing them to undulate with the ocean's surface says Sanjay Kuttan, managing director of the DNV Clean Technology Centre in Singapore.
‘The key to creating an ocean-based structure of this size is the use of a tension-only design,’ Kuttan says. ‘Rather like a spider's web, this dynamic, compliant structure yields to the waves, yet is capable of withstanding considerable external loads acting upon it.’
Separating the solar arrays into prefabricated sections allows for large-scale manufacturing and streamlined assembly offshore, the company adds. The cable grid provides for maintenance access in the form of floating gangways. Below the surface, the shape of the island is maintained by the tensile forces from the lengthy spread mooring.
According to the company, SUNdy is particularly suitable for deployment in Asia and ‘congested coastal megacities’ with limited opportunities for rooftop PV deployment.