Portugal’s biggest utility company, Energias de Portugal (EDP), is currently in the process of constructing what be Europe’s largest floating solar farm on the surface of Alqueva dam in Moura, Portugal.
Built on Western Europe’s biggest artificial lake, the floating island is part of Portugal’s plan to cut reliance on imported fossil fuels, whose prices have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Miguel Patena, EDP group director in charge of the solar project, claimed that electricity produced from the floating park, with installed capacity of 5 megawatts (MW), would cost a third of that produced from a gas-fired plant.
The panels on the Alqueva reservoir would produce 7.5 gigawatt/hours (GWh) of electricity a year, and would be complemented by lithium batteries to store 2 GWh.
The solar panels will supply 1,500 families with power or a third of the needs of the nearby towns of Moura and Portel.
“This project is the biggest floating solar park in a hydro dam in Europe, it is a very good benchmark,” Patena said.
EDP executive board member Ana Paula Marques added that the war in Ukraine showed the need to accelerate the shift to renewables
She said the Alqueva project was part of EDP’s strategy “to go 100% green by 2030”, with hydropower and other renewables now accounting for 78% of EDP’s 25.6 GW of installed capacity.
This is not the company’s first foray into floating solar. In 2017, EDP installed a pilot floating solar project with 840 panels on the Alto Rabagao dam, the first in Europe to test how hydro and solar power could complement each other.
EDP already has plans to expand the Alqueva project. It secured the right in April to build a second floating farm with 70 MW installed capacity.
Earlier this year we reported that EDP Renewables (EDPR), the world’s fourth-largest renewable energy producer, plans to invest up to S$10 billion (over $7 billion) by 2030 to establish a clean energy hub in Singapore for the Asia Pacific region.
EDPR, which is 75% owned by EDP, closed a S$1 billion deal to acquire a 91% stake in Southeast Asian renewables firm Sunseap Group on 24 February.