The art of studing new technologies like floating PV

Floating solar power is attracting more and more attention from solar project developers. It is an innovative technology with great potential, but there are still few technical references for this type of plant. In 2019, kiloWattsol participated as a technical expert in the production assessment of the first floating solar project of Boralex in Peyrolles-en-Provence. The project has a capacity of 14.7 MW. 

In order to provide a solution that would ensure accurate measurement of the deliverable, the kiloWattsol team immediately mobilised its knowledge and carried out a state of the art study on the impacts and characteristics of each component looking to optimise the yield in the context of floating projects.

Thanks to its experience in technical component analysis and research and innovation, the KWS team was able to gather the key elements in a short period of time and carry out a critical reading of the market and the components used to provide the client with relevant technical validation.

Illustration of a PV plant @kilowattsol

A project-based methodology. 

With over 43,000 solar panels installed on a floating structure, the Peyrolles project is considered to be a reference project. Its structure consists of dead-body anchors as well as and several types of technologies. 

For a special project such as this one, it was appropriate necessary to create a custom benshmark method. Fortunately, for the kilowattsol team, studying specific or pioneering projects in terms of technology is a challenge and a passion. Indeed our team of scientists - some would say madmen - take pride in providing quality critical readings and validation for innovative solar projects.

Everything is calculable and no project is left in doubt at KWS. After a data analysis combining clustering and development, we were able to present the client with a methodology that allowing the in-depth study of the site while also taking into account all of the characteristics and the influence of the different elements of the site. 

Climate, the keystone updated by kiloWattsol. 

Thanks to its own calculation tool, kiloWattsol adapts the climate data listed to obtain a fine time step of 16 years, which provides a precise reference system to calculate the climate of the sites it studies. Indeed, the calculation of the climate is often carried out over one year with a time step of one hour in 2019. Thanks to this dynamic iterative calculation and the adaptation of the climate over 16 years, it is able to produce a calculation that takes more precisely into account of the uncertainties that can impact the production of a project and comes closer to the behaviour of the installation in its real operating conditions.

Ensuring an accurate calculation of deliverability in specific environments is a security for all parties in a project. It is not yet possible to compare the Peyrolles plant's deliverability study with its actual performance, but KWS has been able to do this for several of the sites it has reviewed over the last ten years, such as Courans in France, and has obtained a differential varying between 0 and 0.3.

For the Peyrolles-en-Provence project, Boralex did not hesitate to put stakeholders in contact with KWS so that they could be reassured about the methodology used and the assumptions used by its engineers for the study. 

The team's rigorous scientific approach and neutrality make kiloWattsol a complementary and adaptable partner that is able to meet the expectations of each stakeholder.


To this day, KWS has conducted 14,000 studies in 5 continents and the rigour and neutrality of its approach allows it to have a qualified technical approach that is coherent in the eyes of investors and banking institutions at the international level.