Brazilian hydropower dam to host 30 MW of floating solar

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Engineering firm Tractebel, a unit of French energy giant Engie, will develop the basic design of three floating PV arrays with 30 MW of capacity at the 52.2 MW Batalha hydropower project, which is owned by Brazilian state-run power company Eletrobras Furnas.

The Batalha Photovoltaic Plants (UFVs) I, II and III will feature 90,900 solar panels, Tractebel said.

“The balance of photovoltaic modules needed to meet the target will be developed on the ground, making use of what was once the construction site of Batalha Hydro,” the engineering services provider added.

Floating modules on unused hydroelectric reservoirs is a “smart” way to reduce carbon emissions, said Fabiane Ferrao, the manager of Tractebel’s renewables unit.

The Batalha hydropower plant is located on the São Marcos River, in the central Brazilian state of Goiás.

Brazil host another 1 MW floating solar plant at the Sobradinho dam, a 175 MW hydroelectric facility on the Sao Francisco river in Sobradinho, in the state of Bahia. The project, which will be expanded to 5 MW, was launched by the company in 2016. Chesf has also installed a pilot floating PV array at the Balbina dam, a hydroelectric facility and power station on the Uatuma River in the Amazon rainforest.

Floating PV presents a particular advantage in Brazil, as the modules and floating mounting structures could help to reduce evaporation from already challenged water reservoirs, while also bolstering electricity supply in times of drought.