According to Reuters, Europe’s largest floating solar farm will begin producing 7.5 gigawatt-hours per year in July.
The solar farm is built by Portugal’s main utility Energias de Portugal (EDP), on Western Europe’s biggest artificial lake, the Alqueva reservoir. Two tugboats transport a massive array of 12,000 solar panels, the size of four soccer fields, to its mooring. The solar panels will be connected to lithium batteries with a capacity of 2 GWh. It will be able to power around 1,500 homes.
EDP group director in charge of the solar project, Miguel Patena, stated that the power generated by the floating park, which has a capacity of 5 megawatts (MW), would be a third of the cost of electricity generated by a gas-fired plant.
“This project is the biggest floating solar park in a hydro dam in Europe, it is a very good benchmark,” Patena remarked.
Ana Paula Marques, a member of EDP’s executive board, stated that the Alqueva project was part of the company’s “100% green by 2030” plan. EDP’s installed capacity of 25.6 GW is now 78 percent hydropower and other renewables.
In 2017, EDP installed the first trial floating solar project in Europe on the Alto Rabagao dam, with 840 panels, to see how hydro and solar electricity could work together.
EDP has already announced intentions to extend the Alqueva project, securing the license to construct a second floating farm with a capacity of 70 MW in April.