Rheinland Solar has installed a 750 kW floating PV system on a quarry near Weeze, Germany. The project covers a large portion of the annual electricity needs of Hülskens, which operates a nearby sand and gravel production facility.
Hülskens developed the floating substructures for the project, as the group also has subsidiaries that specialize in hydraulic engineering, logistics, and concrete construction.
The main component of the substructures, which will serve as a prototype for other floating solar systems, are made of steel. Each one can support 1,872 solar modules. Rheinland Solar used half-cell Suntech modules.
Hülskens Project Manager Lutz van der Kuil said the group will build similar projects in the future.
“We will take a close look at how much electricity the system produces and how much of it we can use in the gravel plant,” he said. “If everything goes as planned, we will equip other sites with floating solar in the future.”
The 750 kW system is expected to generate around 637,500 kWh of electricity per year. Around 75% of the electricity will be consumed on site.
Rheinland Solar said the gravel plant has an electricity consumption of around 1.3 million kWh per year. Most of the electricity generated during the week will be used to operate suction excavators and screening machines at the site. On the weekends, the electricity will be fed into the grid. Rheinland Solar believes it will be able to recoup its investment within six years.
A number of other floating PV systems are now being planned at gravel quarries in Germany. Gas supplier Erdgas Südwest, for example, recently said it would build 1.5 MW of floating PV capacity at a site in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.