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Equinor builds floating solar in turbulent waters

The Norwegian oil company is developing a floating solar farm near the Arctic Circle. "If we succeed here, we can succeed anywhere," says Equinor.

Illustration of the coming facility. | Photo: PR / Moss Maritime

Norwegian oil company Equinor is planning to install a floating solar facility in seawater offshore of Frøya island, northwest of Trondheim.

As any local resident would confirm, the area is mainly known for rain, few sunlight hours and choppy seas. In other words, it's hard to imagine a site on Earth less suitable for floating solar.

That, however, is the whole point, Equinor says. The project is not being build because it's easy, but rather because it's difficult.

"If we succeed here, we can succeed anywhere," writes Hanne Wigum, head of Equinor's technology unit for wind and solar, in a press statement.

Equinor is already underway with a few research projects within floating photovoltaics in, for instance, Sri Lanka, where the aim is to document the technology at its maximum performance. Another is taking place atop a Dutch lake and will provide insights on the technology's potential at such locations and latitudes where installations will more realistically occur in the future.

"We choose to perform several research projects in parallel because of the rapid growth within renewable energy. This enables us to acquire optimal knowledge about this as early as possible," Wigum says.

The setup offshore of Frøya will be dimensioned at 80x80 meters and be installed in waters of 3 meters depth.

Development is taking place in cooperation with the Frøya municipality and Moss Maritime.

English Edit: Daniel Frank Christensen

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