German renewable energy company Baywa re has published the preliminary findings on the environmental impact of the 27.4 MW “Bomhofsplas” floating PV power plant located on a quarry pond in the Netherlands, which is currently the largest floating PV project outside of China.
The company said the environmental impacts of this plant have been investigated for over a year with the help of its Dutch subsidiary Groenleven as well as the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen and the research institute Buro Bakker/ATKB. “The first results of the environmental studies do not show any significant negative effects on the flora and fauna of the lake,” said Toni Weigl, from Baywa re. “Rather, the first results are positive and we are pleased to see that our floating PV system integrates so well into the surroundings of the lake.”
Baywa re explained that the oxygen content in the water under the floating modules has changed only minimally within a year. Wind and sunlight could still easily reach the water surface under the modules and the measured deviations were mainly caused by changing weather conditions. According to Hanze University, the water quality under the system is at the same, good level as that of the adjacent water surface.
Buro Bakker/ATKB has found, according to Baywa re, that the modules have resulted in less wind on the surface of the water which has, in turn, resulted in less erosion of the banks. This is claimed to protect the local vegetation and stimulate the growth of plants.
The effects on the fish population are still being investigated. In order to strengthen the underwater ecosystem and promote biodiversity, Baywa re attached protective mesh boxes, so-called “bio huts,” under the floating modules, filled with shells. Investigations lasting several years are necessary for complete results.
Baywa re said it wants to continue promoting floating photovoltaics while paying attention to biodiversity and water quality. The company is currently building another plant, in Uivermeertjes. After completion, this should have an output of 29.8 MW and, thus, be even larger than the front runner, “Bomhofsplas.”