EDP inaugurates floating solar park in Alqueva pumped storage reservoir | Green Life Zen

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EDP's 5 MW floating solar park in the reservoir of the Alqueva pumped storage project in Portugal was inaugurated on July 15. (Courtesy: EDP)

The 5 MW floating solar park in the reservoir of the Alqueva pumped storage project in Portugal was inaugurated on July 15.

The project involves a total investment of €6 million ($6.1 million) and construction work took seven months, EDP said. The park occupies 4 hectares, equivalent to around 0.016% of the total area of the Alqueva Reservoir. The energy generated by almost 12,000 photovoltaic panels – about 7.5 GWh annually — will supply more than 30% of the population in this region in the south of Portugal.

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. In addition to this hybrid solar and hydroelectric approach, EDP also plans to install a battery system with a nominal power of 1 MW and a storage capacity of around 2 MWh. All these technologies will use one single connection point to the existing grid.

“Alqueva is today an example of innovation and sustainability, which we will soon strengthen with the new project won in the first floating solar auction in Portugal. EDP is a global pioneer in floating solar technology, which is a landmark leap in the expansion of renewables and in accelerating the decarbonization process,” said Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, chief executive officer of EDP. “The bet on hybridization, by combining electricity produced from water, sun, wind and storage, is a logical path of growth in which EDP will continue to invest – it allows us to produce cheaper energy, optimizes resources and with minimal environmental impact.”

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, EDP said. 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 in line with EDP’s strategy of investing in innovation and renewable projects and being 100% green by 2030.

This project was also critical in accelerating the creation of new investment opportunities in clean technologies and opening doors to auctions that contribute to the urgent acceleration of renewable energies. In the first floating solar auction, which took place in April 2022, EDP was awarded a 70 MW lot in Alqueva, which corresponds to the highest capacity awarded in this auction.