And it floats!
After eight years of research and around one million euros of private investment in the development of a floating photovoltaic system, SolOcean has now successfully launched a finished system into the water for the first time. With the successful test operation, the Lower Austrian greentech company delivers a successful start for worldwide sales.
In theory, everything is gray. But last Thursday, the moment had finally arrived that Gerold Guger and his team had been working towards for eight years: The first SolarFloater is launched. The floating photovoltaic system did not dive into the shimmering turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, but into a dark green quarry pond in Pöchlarn in Lower Austria – but with imperial weather under a bright blue sky. No dummy, no prototype, the finished product, delivered by Rehau GmbH from Linz, which assembled the decentrally manufactured components.
In the days before, the final preparations were underway, the mooring ropes were lowered into the lake. The tension was palpable among everyone involved. No one had any doubts that everything would work out. Nevertheless, stage fright is part of the premiere. And of course the mood is relaxed to euphoric when everything goes as planned.
And now the first system is floating on the quarry pond, eight PV modules integrated into floating bodies – this technology is patent-protected – each with an area of 2 square meters and 4 kilowatts of power. A single module can produce about 7,300 KWh per year with an average sunshine duration of five hours per day, more than twice as much electricity as a three-person household consumes on average (about 3,500 KWh p.a.). A single module has a buoyancy of 430 kg, so it can even carry several people without sinking. And if the panels should ever be submerged under water, they won’t mind. Everything is designed for use under extreme conditions. The SolarFloater is therefore also well equipped for use on reservoirs in the Alps and can, for example, easily bear the load of two meters of snow.
In the coming days, the electrical supply line will be laid, through which the generated emission-free solar energy will be transmitted to shore. We will inform you regularly about the power harvest of the pilot plant.