Generating half of the Netherlands’ energy demand with 5% of the North Sea
Solar panels at sea are the future. There is much more space than on land and the solar panels have a higher yield due to the reflection of the water. Dutch company Oceans of Energy is a pioneer in this field and launched the world's first floating offshore solar installation in the North Sea in 2019.
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Allard van Hoeken, founder and CEO of Oceans of Energy, explains: "We desperately need clean energy at sea, both now and in the future. Solar energy at sea can provide half of our total energy demand, taking up just 5% of the Dutch part of the North Sea."
Solar power plant at sea
In 2017, Oceans of Energy joined forces with five Dutch knowledge institutions and companies to develop, build, test and operate the world's first floating solar power plant at sea. "We have now proven that our panels can be installed in a complex, highly corrosive environment and withstand those conditions," says Van Hoeken. There are now over 150 solar panels with a total capacity of 50 kilowatt peak in the sea.
The company currently has floating solar panels at two locations in the North Sea. 12 kilometers off the coast of Scheveningen, Oceans of Energy has entered into a partnership with The Seaweed Company. The North Sea Farmers test site is now used by both companies to generate solar energy and cultivate seaweed. 15,000kg of seaweed is produced here each year, which also absorbs 1.8 tons of CO.
This test site will show whether Oceans of Energy is ready for combined offshore solar and wind projects, with 100- to 1,000-megawatt-peak floating solar panels per project.
A significant milestone
In order to continue developing, money is required. That’s proving quite a challenge for the company. "Investors are looking for certainty, and we’re doing something new," explains Van Hoeken. He’s delighted with the loan from Rabobank. "It is a significant milestone for one of the best-rated, most creditworthy banks in the world to be investing money in our journey and achievements. We are grateful to Rabobank for their confidence that we will turn offshore solar energy into a success."
Roger Gardien, start- & scale-up banker at Rabobank, is proud of the collaboration: “Oceans of Energy seamlessly fits with our focus areas: innovation, sustainability, the energy transition and Banking for Food. In short: Growing A Better World Together!”