Seven months after the construction works began, 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 developing renewable energies and consolidates EDP’s commitment to innovation and energy transition.
The solar park was inaugurated in Portugal on Friday, July 15th, in an event attended by 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% 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 hybridisation, 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 2MWh. All these technologies will use 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 300GWh 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 decarbonisation process. 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.”, highlights Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, CEO of EDP.
Sustainable solutions for the future
The Alqueva project stands out for its innovation drive in the floaters supporting 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 reducing the weight of the platform by 15% and helps to decrease the CO2 footprint of the project by about 30%.
Floating solar technology is decisive in using resources and expanding renewable energies, which contribute to tackling energy dependence on other sources and accelerating 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% green by 2030.
Image source: Courtesy of EDPR
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