Digital surveying on water? Floating Solar does it!

  • 3 min read

Dutch Floating Solar BV is engaged in sustainable energy generation. They do this by installing solar panels on water. Sun-tracking islands on water, to be precise. They use our UNI-GR1 for that, it’s a special combination. Time to learn more about this.

Digital surveying and floating solar panels

Ralph van Dijk is Manager Operations at Floating Solar and can tell us all about their technology and the role that a GNSS receiver plays. “We are the inventor, builder, and operator of robust, floating and sun-following parks. This year we started the actual implementation of a static island with approximately 8.000 panels. Subsequently, a sun-tracking island in Rotterdam was implemented where we use the UNI-GR1. After we have collected enough data to compare how that island actually works under all circumstances, we take those receivers with us to our recently completed project in Andijk. The great advantages of monitoring and data analysis mean that this technology is supported by TDD and Insurance processes, so it’s fully bankable!”

Generating data

The island in Rotterdam is one big learning path for both Floating Solar and marXact. As much data as possible is generated and processed by Floating Solar. From wind force and direction, to solar radiation, anchoring forces, and the GPS position of the whole. It all has to do with the intelligence of this technology: if, for example, the water level in the basin falls, the control intervenes and a signal is needed for this.

This is new for marXact, too. Tommy van der Heijden, CEO and co-founder of marXact: “We are learning simultaneously with Floating Solar. They went live this year and started their islands, after years of testing and preparation. For us, this is still an unknown application of our receivers, but now the panels generate solar energy and this project shows value. The UNI contributes to this and is therefore universal in a way that we could not imagine a year ago!”

Island full of knowledge

“We collect an awful lot of data on these islands, it is actually bizarre. Models are made of this data and we analyse, our UNIs help with that. Inhouse engineers compare all data, which benefits the application of these floating and sun-tracking projects. As a result, the islands will become independent knowledge centres that are currently being built. We also use the equipment for surveying and setting out work, which we started very recently with. That is very simple,”says Van Dijk.

Plug-and-play

Van der Heijden: “Our products work plug-and-play. The receiver comes with the correct software and setting it up yourself is quick. With Floating Solar there is an extra type of plug-and-play. We’ve created a feature that makes their receivers turn on when the plug goes in, that works best for them. Their UNIs are docked on a floating island, where the power button is slightly more difficult to reach. A different kind of feature request than we normally get, from a different kind of organization than we normally help, so all the more fun to work on!”

Ralph’s advice for the first time

“Get started and pick up your phone when you get stuck.”

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