By : Franyi Sarmiento, Ph.D., Inspenet, May 23, 2022
The Portuguese government, through Energias de Portugal (EDP) promotes a new project in an Alqueva reservoir, -the largest in all of Western Europe-, installing the largest floating solar park in all of Europe.
Two tugboats have brought to the site a huge array of 12,000 solar panels that would occupy about four football fields. This floating solar park has a production capacity of 5 megawatts, but the most important thing is the cost of that production: the implementation of this “central” costs a third of what a gas-based plant would cost.
The panels of this dam, which allows the operation of a hydroelectric plant, will produce 7.5 GWh per year, and next to them there will be a series of lithium batteries that will allow 2 GWh to be stored. The project will satisfy the supply of 1,500 families in the nearby towns of Moura and Portel.
Among the advantages of this floating park is that it does not occupy land surface, and its installation in these reservoirs is particularly cost efficient since the infrastructures of the hydroelectric plants can be used to “connect” that solar supply to said networks.
This promising project is, it seems, the beginning of an important effort to go further in this type of floating solar parks. There are already gigantic installations like the Saemangeum project in South Korea, with an impressive capacity of 1,200 MW. EDP will soon start a second project that will have an installed capacity of 70 MW, still a long way from the South Korean giant, but which will undoubtedly continue to add to this effort to take advantage of renewable energies.