Floating solar panels

Saltwater Engineering has been contracted to assist in the initial design and calculation phase for the development of a floating solar panel array with a total dimension of approx. 72 x 63 m. The array consists of 90 platforms of 12 x 4,2 m, each with 2 pontoon floaters to give the units buoyancy.


Scope of analysis

The main focus of our works were a theoretical analysis of the mooring of the solar array while being exposed to several forces such as wind, waves and snow/ice.
The modules were exposed to a constant uniform wind force acting on the entire surface of the modules. Additionally the modules were exposed to dynamic forces for small wave patterns.

The study was executed using OrcaFlex, a dynamic analysis program for the calculation of a wide range of offshore systems typically including boundary conditions such as vessels, buoys etc. as well as finite elements modelling of line structures, developed by Orcina Ltd.



A model of the floating solar panel array has been generated using 6D buoys to replicate the floaters, a wing to replicate the wind drag force on the topside structure, all connected with spring links and lines attached at the edges to moor the array. In total 90 platforms have been modelled and are attached together at four points;
2 transvere connections and 2 longitudinal connections. Each platform consists of a master buoy which all other objects are connected to it. The entire array was subsequently exposed to a variety of environmental conditions to determine anchor and mooring line loads for different configurations.

 Solar panel array – Top view

 OrcaFlex model side view

 OrcaFlex model 3d view

Executive summary

The resulting loads were used by the client to further develop the array and choose the most cost effective mooring solution.

Project information

Scope of work

  • Mooring analysis
  • Determine connection forces


  • Total dimension approx. 72 x 63 m
  • The array consists of 90 platforms of 12 x 4,2 m
Mobilisation Engineering