EDP's pioneer floating solar power plant in Portugal ready to start producing energy

Located in the region of Alqueva, this largest floating solar park in Europe in a reservoir, and the second one built in Portugal after EDP’s pilot project in Alto Rabagão, will supply more than 30 percent of the population in this region in the south of Portugal.
Courtesy of EDP Renewables.

The plant has almost 12,000 photovoltaic panels. Seven months after the beginning of the construction works, EDP's floating solar power plant in the south of Portugal (Alqueva) is ready to start generating power. The entry into operation of this project - considered the largest in Europe on a dam reservoir - represents a relevant step in the development of renewable energies and consolidates EDP's commitment to innovation and energy transition.

Also, in Alqueva, EDP plans to install up to 154 MW of renewable capacity in a complete hybrid farm.

The solar park was inaugurated in Portugal this Friday, July 15th, in an event that was attended by various Portuguese representatives: Prime Minister António Costa; Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro; and the Secretary of State for Environment and Energy, João Galamba. Among other participants was Roberto Bocca, executive member and head of the energy area of the World Economic Forum.All the participants were welcomed by EDP’s CEO, Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, at today’s event.

With close to 12,000 photovoltaic panels - occupying 4 hectares, equivalent to around 0.016% of the total area of the Alqueva reservoir -, the new platform has an installed power of 5 MW and the capacity to produce around 7.5 GWh per year, which means that it can supply more than 30 percent of the families in this region in the south of Portugal (Portel and Moura).

The current solar project involves a total investment of six million euros and stands out for its floating solar technology and the concept of hybridization, which allows the combination of solar and hydroelectric energy from the Alqueva dam. In addition, the installation of a battery system is also planned, with a nominal power of 1 MW and a storage capacity of around 2 MWh. All these technologies will be using one single connection point to the existing grid promoting asset optimisation and efficiency while reducing environmental impacts.

Furthermore, EDP plans to install up to 154 MW of renewable capacity in a complete hybrid farm, including 70 MW of floating solar PV, achieved by EDPR in the recent solar floating auction in Portugal, plus 14 MW of solar overcapacity and 70 MW of hybrid wind capacity. This project will reinforce energy production from this reservoir, being capable of producing 300 GWh annually, supplying 92,000 homes and avoiding the emission of more than 133,000 tons of CO2. Also, the scale of the project and the hybridisation component will make it possible to combine different technologies and ensure a balance at the price level, similar to what is already intended with the first floating solar park in Alqueva, now in operation.

“Floating solar technology, in which EDP is a global pioneer, is a remarkable leap forward in the expansion of renewables and in accelerating the decarbonization process” said Miguel Stilwell d'Andrade, CEO of EDP. “And our hybridisation strategy, by combining water, sun, wind and storage, is clearly a logical path for growth in energy production in which EDP will continue to invest. Alqueva is today an example of innovation and sustainability that we will soon reinforce with the new project won in the first floating solar auction in Portugal.”

The Alqueva project stands out for its innovation drive in the floaters that support the solar panels: recycled plastic combined with cork composites. The solution, which is being tested for the first time in Alqueva, is the result of a partnership with Corticeira Amorim (through Amorim Cork Composites) which developed a more sustainable formula for the floaters manufactured by the Spanish company Isigenere. This innovation contributes to reduce the weight of the platform by 15 percent, and helps to decrease the CO2 footprint of the project by about 30 percent.

Floating solar technology is decisive in the use of resources and the expansion of renewable energies, which contribute to tackle energy dependence on other sources and accelerate the energy transition process. This first large-scale project in Alqueva - which went ahead after the success of the first pilot initiated in Alto Rabagão about seven years ago - is thus in line with EDP's strategy of investing in innovation and renewable projects and being 100 percent green by 2030.

For additional information:

EDP Renewables

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