DNV is leading two joint industry projects that aim to develop reference standards for the design, development and operation of floating PV systems. Such standards are still largely lacking, which could potentially lead to delays and barriers to obtaining permits and authorizations.

The Norwegian Classification Society DNV aims to develop the world’s first recommended practice for the design, development and operation of floating solar photovoltaic systems (FPV).

An independent energy expert and assurance provider estimates that the potential global capacity for FPV deployment is currently around 4 TW and expects the installed capacity to reach 10 GW worldwide by 2025.

The Group notes, however, that the standards applicable to FPV are still largely lacking, which could lead to project delays and obstacles to the authorization and authorization of public-scale projects.

“FPV players at best rely on inconsistent and diverse procedures and related codes adopted from other sectors, which could hamper the industry’s ability to grow rapidly,” DNV notes.

In an effort to provide comprehensive guidance to FPV operators, DNV has taken the initiative in two new joint industry projects (JIPs) to achieve specific FPV benchmark standards. DNV previously led the JIP with 24 industry leaders to develop the world’s first recommended practice (RP) for the design, development and operation of FPV systems – DNV-RP-0584 – which was introduced in 2021 as a first step towards FPV standards and certification. FPV-specific benchmarks will allow companies to manage risk and facilitate the transition to renewable energy, according to DNV.

The first new JIP is the exchange and improvement of best practices for the development of FPV-specific anchor and mooring structures. Based on a selection of floating solar concepts, the project will address a variety of expected issues when deploying installations on large islands with small drafts. The second JIP will draw on DNV’s expertise and network to create an “adequate unified standard of float design, testing and qualification for FPV, which will introduce clearer, faster and cheaper performance-based procedures that are layout-neutral and fail-dependent. ”

Many reservoirs remain mostly available for electricity generation, making the FPV business case extremely attractive. After a slow start, the FPV market has grown to 2 GW of global installed capacity in 2020. DNV estimates that by 2025, 7 to 11 GW will be installed with a significant increase from 2023.

“The use of industry standards will ultimately lead to improved quality, lower failure rates and more adequate access to data-driven digital solutions and support services such as verification and certification,” said Juan Carlos Arevalo, executive vice president of GPM & S. DNV company. “This can only be achieved through joint efforts and continuous exchange of knowledge. This will not lead to the convergence of floating solar photovoltaic technologies into a dominant concept, but rather establish a common approach to analysis and modeling that allows players to consistently improve each other’s best practices and deploy testing and quality assurance procedures for the entire industry. ”

Dana Olson, head of the global solar segment, Energy Systems at DNV, added: “FPV designs create unique challenges for the solar industry due to specific hydrodynamic loads, corrosion risk and certain components such as floats, anchors and moorings.

“Several major clients in the solar community have asked us to develop new, individual standards that will guide them in developing sustainable FPV projects,” Olson added. “In particular, our contribution to determining the design load on the environment will provide important guidance for the entire field, and we want to work directly with clients across the industry at this crucial stage of FPV project development.”

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