Photo: Illustration (Courtesy of EDP)

EDP gets approval for 4MW floating solar farm in Portugal

Portuguese electric utility EDP has secured the final license for the installation of a floating solar farm with 12,000 panels in Alqueva Reservoir.

Illustration (Courtesy of EDP)
Illustration (Courtesy of EDP)

EDP said it expects the farm to start producing energy by the end of this year, providing enough electricity to supply 25% of homes in the Portel and Moura region with its annual production capacity of 7GWh.

The floating solar farm, which also features a battery storage system, involves an investment of about €4 million and will be part of Alqueva plant, a pumped hydropower plant with one of the largest energy storage systems in the country.

The project is being designed with a hybrid operation model, as the pumping system makes it possible to use solar and wind power in times of lower consumption to pump water from the reservoir and thus reuse it to produce new hydroelectric power, according to EDP.

Alqueva will therefore become a kind of living laboratory by allowing the company to test the complementarity between dispatchable (hydroelectric) and non-dispatchable (photovoltaic) renewable energy production technologies, as well as long-term (pumping) and short-term (battery) storage technologies.

With 1MW power and a storage capacity of about 2MWh, the battery will feature lithium-ion technology, which is already widely used in the electricity sector worldwide.

Works on the Alqueva project are expected to start in summer, and according to EDP, it is incomplete alignment with the company’s overall strategy, which involves boosting investment in innovation and renewable energy projects in order to become a fully green company by 2030.

Moreover, the project complies with the objectives of the Portuguese Government’s Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050, as it seeks to maximize the use of clean energy in the system and exploit the capacity of existing grid connections.

With this project EDP will increase its installed renewable energy capacity, which currently stands at 19GW – accounting for about 80% of the total and on the way to 100% by 2030.

Renewable energy will therefore be decisive in this energy transition process, with an overall investment of €19 billion over the next five years, for an additional capacity of 20GW, EDP expects.