Ocean Sun, a company out of Norway that is specializing the floating solar PV, just had its stock market IPO (initial public offering) on Merkur Market, which is a platform for small and medium-sized companies to get onto the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Ocean Sun was looking to raise NOK100 million ($10.9 million) in order to help it expand abroad as well as for R&D investments, and it was admitted to Merkur Market yesterday.
What exactly is the company’s role in the burgeoning floating solar PV market? I’ll let Ocean Sun explain: “By combining the Norwegian maritime expertise and knowledge within silicon photovoltaics, Ocean Sun has developed an innovation that offers a bold solution to our global energy needs. The patented technology is based on solar modules mounted on hydro-elastic membranes and offers cost and performance benefits not seen in any other floating PV system today.”
So, basically, it’s mostly about the material the solar PV modules are floating on. Furthermore, “Using Ocean Sun’s patented solution, the PV module’s operating temperature is reduced due to direct heat transfer into the water below, which improves the efficiency of the solar modules. As depicted in the infrared picture [below]. The improved efficiency has been third-party verified by DNV GL.” Cooling of solar panels from the water underneath is seen as a benefit of floating solar PV is seen as a benefit in general, but the argument is that Ocean Sun’s approach cools them even further, thus improving efficiency.
The company also argues that its floating solar setup is best equipped to handle rough waves: “Ocean Sun’s system is the first floating PV system to receive a Statement of Conformity from DNV GL Maritime validating the design and the structural integrity in waves, wind, and currents.
“The thin polymer membrane gives the system hydroelastic properties that allow the structure and PV modules to move gracefully to the waves’ harmonics instead of battling against the force of the waves. Pool tests and simulations are used to predict the systems’ wave capabilities. Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis (CFD) has proven that the system can withstand Category 4 Typhoon winds of 275 km/h.”
I’m not denying the claims of superiority here — I’m not equipped to evaluate them — but note that being the first to “receive a Statement of Conformity from DNV GL Maritime validating the design and the structural integrity in waves, wind, and currents” does not necessarily mean other floating solar PV systems are not adequately designed and equipped to handle such things. It could be that others in this industry have not seeked out such a distinction.
Other major benefits Ocean Sun (which I keep wanting to call Ocean Spray for some reason) claims are that their system is easy and quick to install and there are reduced logistics required (compared to other floating solar PV systems).
Here’s more of an explanation in video format:
The money the company has raised will be used to expand abroad, to grow beyond its relatively small size, and to engage in more R&D. “The net proceeds from the issue of the New Shares are expected to be used to expand the organization, fund continued research and development, as well as working capital and general corporate purposes,” the company writes. “The net proceeds from any sale of Secondary Shares will be for the benefit of the Selling Shareholders.”
We’ve covered several floating solar PV companies over the years. In March of 2019, we covered an initial 2 megawatt (MW) project from Ocean Sun in Albania. The project was bought by Statkraft for $2.3 million. “Testing new technology for floating solar power panels fits very well with Statkraft’s strategy to grow our renewable energy generation from hydro, wind and solar. If the technology is proven successful and the potential for cost-competitiveness can be achieved, a wider application of floating solar may take place in other Statkraft locations,” Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, CEO of Statkraft, said at the time. I have not seen any news regarding a growing Statkraft and Ocean Sun partnership.
Ocean Sun is a young company, just founded in 2016. It aims to put large-scale floating solar PV projects on coastal seawater, lakes, and reservoirs. The company has received grants from Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council.
All images courtesy Ocean Sun