BayWa r.e. Builds Largest Floating Solar Plant in Central Europe

ECOwind, a subsidiary of BayWa r.e., together with Austrian energy supplier EVN, has realised a 24.5 MWp Floating-PV plant in Grafenwörth, Lower Austria.

The Floating-PV plant, the largest of its kind in Austria and Central Europe, continues the transformation of unused bodies of water into clean energy generators. The project is the fourth largest Floating-PV plant in Europe after three projects located in the Netherlands, which have all been built by BayWa r.e.

The Floating-PV system in Grafenwörth measuring approximately 14 hectares is built on the water surface in a former sand and gravel pit on two lakes. It will produce 26,700 MWh of green electricity per year and will be able to supply around 7,500 Austrian households.

The project has seen rapid growth, with the 45,304 solar modules installed in only ten weeks total.

Dr. Benedikt Ortmann, Global Director of Solar Projects at BayWa r.e. said “We are in the decade that matters. As market leader in Floating-PV, BayWa r.e. sees the important role of this technology in the clean energy revolution, and we are excited to bring Floating-PV to more and more countries. It creates a new function for otherwise unused water surfaces. With this turnkey Floating-PV project, we have brought incremental improvements to our already cutting-edge systems in the Netherlands. Together with EVN and our Austrian subsidiary ECOwind, we managed to install the plant in record time – without compromising on environmental protection. Biodiversity and sustainability are major considerations for us in all Floating-PV projects.”

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To ensure the project’s integration into the surrounding ecosystem, research on the fish population as well as examinations of the local dragonfly fauna will be carried out regularly over several years.

Johann Janker, Managing Director of ECOwind, added “In Grafenwörth, the challenge was to drive approval procedures and regulations for this new PV application in Austria and to ensure a safe construction – which we managed even with a level difference of 7m between the mounting surface and the water. Besides being quickly installed and easy to maintain, Floating-PV also has the benefit of a higher electricity yield thanks to the cooling effect of water – making the application a very attractive prospect to landowners of unused water bodies.”

Including the project in Grafenwörth, BayWa r.e. has installed a total of 15 Floating-PV projects with more than 230 MW worldwide.