SeaVolt pioneers offshore solar energy with test platform


Belgium – SeaVolt, a collaboration between Tractebel, DEME, and Jan De Nul, is gearing up to deploy its first floating solar energy test platform offshore.

This innovative project aims to harness the untapped potential of offshore solar energy, providing a significant boost to the renewable energy sector and contributing to the transition towards a low-carbon society.

With the increasing focus on combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the need for sustainable and clean energy solutions has never been more critical. Offshore solar energy presents a promising avenue to harness the vast solar resources over the sea. Unlike conventional solar installations on land, floating solar farms hold the potential to utilize vast expanses of water bodies, optimizing space and reducing land-use conflicts.

Advancing offshore solar technology

SeaVolt, driven by its partners Tractebel, DEME, and Jan De Nul, aims to unlock the immense potential of offshore solar energy with a cutting-edge test platform. Designed to endure the challenging conditions of rough seas, this pioneering technology offers a modular and adaptable approach, making it an ideal complement to existing offshore wind farms.

The test platform, situated off the Belgian North Sea coast, will serve as a floating laboratory to gather crucial data for at least a year, starting from August. It will assess the performance and resilience of the solar panels, evaluate the impact of waves and weather conditions, and explore innovative materials, including lightweight carbon fiber, for offshore use.

The SeaVolt test platform will conduct comprehensive tests to determine the impact of waves, rain, and salt sprays on various solar panels with different configurations. Furthermore, the research will monitor the effect of varying inclinations caused by waves and wind on energy output.

In addition to technical evaluations, the ecological impact will also be a focal point of the test. The test installation will evaluate various materials to minimize marine growth attachment and explore the possibilities of integrating the floating solar systems with mussel cultivation and oyster farming, promoting ecological balance.

European Green Deal

The significant potential of offshore solar energy has garnered international recognition, with the European Green Deal highlighting its importance. The Dutch government has ambitious plans to have 3 GW of offshore solar energy in operation by 2030, further underlining the global recognition of this eco-friendly technology.

SeaVolt’s offshore test marks a critical milestone in developing a reliable, cost-efficient, and sustainable solution for offshore solar energy. With the successful outcome of this test, SeaVolt aims to move forward with large-scale demonstration projects within offshore wind farms, optimizing the use of space and electrical infrastructure.