Portugal: The Largest Floating Solar Park in Europe

  • Portugal has the largest floating Solar park in Europe located in Alqueva reservoir.
  • The solar panels in the Alqueva reservoir can generate 7.5 gigawatts/hour (GWh) of electricity per year, and will be equipped with a lithium battery to store 2 GWh.
  • The Alqueva project was part of EDP’s strategy to go 100 percent green by 2030, with hydropower and other renewables accounting for 78 percent of EDP’s installed capacity of 25.6 GW.

Portugal has the largest floating Solar park in Europe located in Alqueva reservoir. This floating Solar Park consists of 12,000 solar panels or the equivalent of four football fields. The solar panels in floating solar park are used as an energy source to generate electricity for hydroelectric power plants. The floating Solar Park built on Portugal’s Alqueva reservoir is in preparation to be switched on later this year in July.

The construction of a floating solar park on the largest artificial lake in Western Europe is part of Portugal’s plan. Portugal wants to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels, which have soared in price since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to EDP (Electric Data Processing) executive board member, the conflict in Ukraine demonstrated the need to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

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Furthermore, the abundant supply of sunlight and Atlantic winds made Portugal accelerate the shift of energy to renewable energy. But even though Portugal barely uses Russian hydrocarbons, its gas-fired power plants are still feeling the pressure from rising fuel prices.

To reduce CO2 emissions, solar panels also mounted on pontoons on lakes or at sea have been installed in a variety of locations ranging from California to polluted industrial ponds in China.

The solar panels in the Alqueva reservoir can generate 7.5 GWh of electricity per year. And it will be equipped with a lithium battery to store 2 GWh. The electricity generated from the floating Solar park can supply 1,500 families with electricity. In addition, it can also supply a third of the needs of the nearby towns of Moura and Portel.

According to Miguel Patena, EDP group director in charge of the solar project, electricity produced from the floating solar park, with installed capacity of 5 MW, would cost a third of that produced from a gas-fired plant.

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Floating panels do not require valuable real estate. And those on hydropower reservoirs are particularly cost effective because they can connect to existing power grid links. Then, excess solar energy can be used to pump water up into the lake and store it for use on cloudy days or at night.

The Alqueva project was part of EDP’s strategy to go 100% green by 2030. With hydropower and other renewables accounting for 78% of 25.6 GW.

EDP installed 840 floating solar panels on the Alto Rabagao dam in 2017. The first in Europe to test how hydro and solar power could complement each other.

EDP has already announced plans to expand the Alqueva project. It won the right to build a second floating farm with a capacity of 70 MW in April.

Editor: Riana Nurhasanah

References:

[1]Portugal set to start up Europe’s largest floating solar park

[2]Portugal just plugged in Europe’s largest floating solar power plant

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