Brazil launches first stage of solar power floating demo

In Brazil

On March 4, Brazil’s Balbina hydropower plant began operating a floating solar power plant. It is one of two systems in a research and development (R&D) project that aims produce up to 10 Mega Watt peak (MWp) of power. The floating PV panels on reservoirs are designed to generate power which is complimentary to hydro power and takes advantage of idle space in substations and transmission lines of hydro plants.

The Brazilian government will switch on its second plant, the Sobradinho hydropower plant on March 11. The floating photovoltaic (PV) arrays aim to deliver 1 MWp each at the first stage of the project. Solar PV power systems are designed to convert and supply solar power into usable energy by means of photovoltaics.

If the implemented systems at both sites are proven successful as sources of renewable energy for Brazil, the government will add a further 4 MWp per site by October 2017. The R&D project will end with the presentation of the results in January 2019, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Brazilian power utilities Eletronorte and Chesf will invest BRL 100 million (USD 26.8m) in total in the R&D project. Balbina and Sobradinho were chosen due to their location in areas with different climatic regimes, thus performance of the floating PV systems will be analysed in various weather conditions.

Similar research projects have been undertaken in other countries, but not at HPP’s, noted the government.

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