EDP's pioneer floating solar power plant in Portugal ready to start producing energy
July 18, 2022
• Located in the region of Alqueva, it is the largest floating solar park in Europe in a reservoir, and the second one built in Portugal, after EDP’s pilot project in Alto Rabagão
• The energy generated by this plant, which has almost 12,000 photovoltaic panels, will supply more than 30% of the population in this region in the south of Portugal
• In Alqueva, EDP plans to install up to 154 MW of renewable capacity in a complete hybrid farm
Seven months after the beginning of 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.
The solar park was inaugurated in Portugal last 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 Energy at the World Economic Forum. All the participants were welcomed by EDP’s CEO, Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, at the event.
With close to 12,000 photovoltaic panels - occupying four 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 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 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.”, said Miguel Stilwell d'Andrade, CEO of EDP.
Sustainable solutions for the future
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 the reduction in 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 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% green by 2030.
About EDP Renewables (EDPR)
EDP Renewables (Euronext: EDPR) is the fourth largest renewable energy producer worldwide with presence in 26 markets across Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. Based in Madrid and with main regional offices in Houston, São Paulo and Singapore, EDPR has a robust development portfolio with first class assets and a market-leading operational capability in renewables. These include wind onshore, utility scale & distributed solar, wind offshore (through its 50/50 JV - OW) and technologies complementary to renewables such as batteries and green hydrogen.
EDPR's employee-centered policies resulted in its recognition as a Top Workplace 2022 in the United States, Top Employer 2022 in Europe (Spain, Italy, France, Romania, Portugal and Poland) and Brazil, as well as its inclusion in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.
EDPR is a division of EDP (Euronext: EDP), a leader in the energy transition with a focus on decarbonisation. Besides its strong presence in renewables (with EDPR and hydro operations), EDP has an integrated utility presence in Portugal, Spain and Brazil including electricity networks, client solutions and energy management.
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