ITS Launches the First Marine Floating Solar Power Plant Prototype in Indonesia

Indonesia’s Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) through research funded by Innovate UK, together with Cranfield University, Universitas Pattimura (Unpatti), Orela Shipyard, PT Gerbang Multindo Nusantara, Achelous Energy Ltd, and HelioRec, has launched a prototype of the first marine solar power plant floating structure in Indonesia entitled Solar2Wave at the ITS Research and Technology Innovation Gallery (GRIT).

ITS Chancellor, Prof Dr Ir Mochamad Ashari MEng IPU AEng, said that the current development of floating solar power plants in Indonesia is still limited to the lake or reservoir scale.

This limited area makes the utilization area for solar power plants less than optimal. “Therefore, to maximize the potential and impact of this floating solar power plant, we are expanding its application area to the sea,” chancellor Ashari said.

Even though the impact can be expanded, the development of floating marine solar power plants faces severe obstacles in its realization, according to Ashari. One of the main problems disrupting this effort is large sea waves, which can damage solar panels, and Solar2Wave could be the answer to this problem.

The head of the Solar2Wave Indonesia research team, Prof. Dr. I Ketut Aria Pria Utama MSc, explained that Solar2Wave is a project to develop a floating solar panel area equipped with an integrated system to overcome wave problems.

The solar panel area at Solar2Wave is equipped with floaters and is surrounded by a breakwater, which minimizes the impact of strong waves on the floating solar panels.

Furthermore, the prototype being developed consists of six monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels with a total capacity of 600 watts, explained the professor.

Solar2Wave is also equipped with an energy storage system, such as a 12-volt battery with a voltage of 65 AH. “The floating cubes used have also been certified and are resistant to ultraviolet light, anti-corrosion from seawater, chemicals, and oil,” he said.

After successfully developing the prototype in the Orela shipyard area in Gresik, the Solar2Wave research pilot project will be developed in the Gili Ketapang area, Probolinggo, East Java.

The regional selection was based on various factors, including the number of residents who need electricity assistance, the social conditions of the population, and accessibility to the Solar2Wave installation area itself.

This high electrical power will reduce people’s dependence on diesel-fueled power plants. “Solar2Wave is projected to be able to support the daily electricity needs of the people as well as an ice cube factory, which is one of the important needs of fishermen in the Gili Ketapang area,” explained Prof. Dr. I Ketut Aria Pria Utama.

At the initial stage of research, which started from March 2023 to February 2024, Solar2Wave encountered several obstacles in its development. These included out-of-control ocean wave conditions, weather conditions, complex maintenance, and unpredictable operational costs.

Solar2Wave research received funding of three hundred thousand pounds (£300,000) from Innovate UK for the initial stage of research/

For the next stage of research, which will begin in April 2024, the project will receive further funding of five hundred thousand pounds (£500,000).