First floating solar plant connected to the Virtual Power Plant

Published: 18. June 2020

Together with Solar WO Engineering GmbH as the constructor and 7C Solarparken AG as the operator, Next Kraftwerke has connected a floating photovoltaic (PV) system to the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) for the first time. The plant has a capacity of 729 kWp. It is integrated into the VPP via a protocol interface. Next Kraftwerke forecasts the plant's electricity production and then trades the electricity on the spot market of the electricity exchange.

With a module area of around 6,800 square meters, the plant is only slightly smaller than a soccer field. Almost 2000 modules are installed on the 85x80 meters. The plant floats on a lake near the town Salzwedel in the north-east of Germany, which is located on a property owned by the Salzwedel Municipal Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Association. The association uses the lake as a water buffer - a function that is not affected by the PV system. Due to the installation on the water, no otherwise usable area was needed for the construction of the plant. Furthermore, the cooling by the water is promising for a good performance. Floats made of plastic keep the system on the water. They also form the basis for a footbridge to the land, on which cables run that connect the plant to the power grid. A specially developed anchor design consisting of 43 steel cables attached to the shore ensures that the installation remains in place. For example, it takes into account wind data, expected snow loads and the depth of the water. "Next Kraftwerke trades electricity from several of our PV systems on the spot market. Due to the good cooperation, it was only logical for us to also cooperate with Next Kraftwerke for this special plant," says Torsten Oehme, Managing Director of Solar WO Engineering GmbH.

"The control system of our Virtual Power Plant abstracts from the type of plant. That is why, for us, the connection, data communication and forecasting doesn’t differ from other plants," says Florian Roeder, Key Account Manager at Next Kraftwerke. "We believe that there is great potential for floating PV systems because they allow an area-neutral expansion. As we have already successfully worked together with Solar WO Engineering GmbH and 7C Solarparken AG on other projects, we were very pleased to be able to cooperate in this future-oriented project as well".

Credit: Solar WO Engineering GmbH


Next Kraftwerke operates one of the biggest Virtual Power Plants in Europe. By utilizing the full potential of digitalization, the company networks thousands of energy-producing and energy-consuming units in the Virtual Power Plant “Next Pool”. Through its technology and trading, clients are able to produce and consume electricity when prices are best for them. By trading their aggregated power 24/7 on different energy spot markets the Virtual Power Plant also makes a substantial contribution to stabilizing the grid by smartly distributing the power generated and consumed by the individual units in times of peak load.