Europe’s largest floating solar farm opens in Alqueva on Friday

  • Lusa
  • 12 July 2022

The Alqueva project is "the largest floating solar park on a dam reservoir in Europe", according to EDP.

The Alqueva Floating Solar Power Plant in the Alentejo, “the largest floating solar farm” on a dam reservoir in Europe, is to be inaugurated on Friday, in an investment of €6 million, energy utility EDP said on Tuesday.

The inauguration is scheduled for 10:30 am on Friday, with a ceremony at the top of the Alqueva dam, between the municipalities of Portel (Évora) and Moura (Beja), followed by a boat tour of the floating solar plant, according to EDP.

The floating solar power plant consists of “nearly 12,000 photovoltaic panels” and was moved on May 5 from the shore to the final area of the reservoir, EDP explained to Lusa, in explanations provided via email.

The company added that “it was anchored so that it can later be connected to the grid” and start operating this month, indicating that the plant “took about seven months to be assembled and start operating.

About five years ago, EDP launched the first floating solar project on a dam reservoir, at Alto Rabagão, in the district of Vila Real, “whose success now allows it to leverage larger scale projects.”

The Alqueva project is, therefore, “the largest floating solar park on a dam reservoir in Europe”, emphasised the Portuguese company, “a pioneer at the European level in the development of floating solar technology”.

“Floating solar technology is a decisive innovation in the use of resources and the expansion of renewable energies, which contribute to reducing energy dependence on other sources and accelerate the process of decarbonisation,” it said.

This new project in Alqueva, which involves a total investment of €6 million, “is in line with EDP’s strategy to be 100% green by 2030 and to increase investment in innovation and renewable projects”, he highlighted.

According to estimates, the floating solar power plant in the Alentejo reservoir, with an output of 5MW (megawatts), is expected to produce around 7.5GWh/year (gigawatts per hour/year).

“It is expected to supply the equivalent of over 30% of the region’s households (Portel and Moura), which corresponds to around 1,500 families (an average of four people per household),” EDP said.

The platform occupies four hectares, “the equivalent of around 0.016% of the total area of the Alqueva reservoir,” it said.

The floating solar power project in this reservoir also includes the installation of batteries with a storage capacity of around 2MWh.

The plant’s floats, produced by a Spanish company, include cork composites developed by Amorim Cork Composites of Corticeira Amorim, which “are being tested for the first time in this solar park”.

This innovation, as well as contributing to reducing the weight of the platform by 15%, helps to reduce the project’s carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint by around 30%, EDP indicated.

The inauguration ceremony is expected to be attended by Prime Minister António Costa, the minister for the environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro, and the CEO of EDP, Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, among others, the company said.