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German government backs floating photovoltaics research project

As part of a joint research project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, energy company RWE and the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg are examining the technical requirements, economic efficiency, acceptance and ecological effects of floating PV systems, Sandra Enkhardt writes in pv magazine. Germany’s federal economy ministry is funding the “PV2Float” research project, in which different systems are to be subjected to a series of tests over several years. So far, only small floating photovoltaic systems with an output of up to 750 kilowatts, which are designed for direct on-site consumption, have been realised in Germany, Enkhardt writes. The technology has taken a back seat to more conventional ground-mounted open-space systems due to the way the country’s solar energy tenders are set up. In the coming year, however, there will be separate innovation tenders in which floating PV systems will compete with agro-photovoltaic farms and rooftop installations on car parks, pv magazine reports. A general lack of empirical values on floating PV systems has also limited their prospects. The new PV2Float research project aims to change that by providing new information on floating installations. The project will use four floating systems and a reference system with an output of around 150 kilowatts.

The German government recently brought forward its climate neutrality target by five years to 2045 and increased its emissions reduction targets for 2030 to 65 percent instead of 55 percent. To reach these goals, the Wuppertal Institue for climate, energy and environment recommends the next German government ensures a faster renewables ramp-up and earlier coal phase-out. In May of this year, the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) called for the country’s solar photovoltaic (PV) target to be raised from 100 to 150 gigawatts by 2030, arguing that the country’s current target “is hardly sufficient to achieve the European and the more stringent national climate target for 2030”.

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