Floating PV gains ground in Iberia

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From pv magazine Spain.

Acciona has commissioned Spain’s first grid-connected floating solar plant, in the southern region of Extremadura. The renewables company received authorization for the installation in February and completed commissioning on Monday.

The 1.1 MW array is on the southern shore of the Sierra Brava reservoir in the municipality of Zorita, in the province of Cáceres, and spans ​​12,000m2 – 0.07% of the 1,650ha reservoir.

The pilot project features 3,000 solar modules of various types, orientation and inclination across five floating structures and will assess the performance and operations and maintenance costs associated with the different set-ups. Acciona said the plant was conceived “as a technological demonstrator that will allow various solar panels, inclinations and floating systems to be tested in a combined environment.” The panel arrays include bifacial modules and a vertically-inclined section.

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Wildlife

The developer said it would also observe the effect of the array on birds and fishes and had installed nesting boxes for a protected species of bird which lives in the area as well as adding two islands to encourage nesting on the reservoir.

Elsewhere on the Iberian peninsula, Portuguese utility EDP has completed the first, 1 MW phase of a 4 MW floating PV project at the Alqueva reservoir in southern Portugal. The completed project, said the utility, would include 11,000 solar panels across 4ha and would generate 6 GWh per year and be connected to a battery. A second platform will host a 20-foot container which will house a transformer and medium voltage cells.

The Sistema Fotovoltaico Flutuante do Alqueva project will be the country’s first megawatt scale floating solar plant. EDP built its first floating PV system, with french specialist Ciel&Terre, in November 2016. That project, the Central Solar Fotovoltaica Flutuante do Alto Rabagão installation, is a 200 kW pilot system at the Alto Rabagão Dam on the Rabagão river.