Brazil to install 350MW floating solar array at hydro dam in Amazon

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Brazil to test floating solar on its hydropower dams, with a 350MW pilot project at Balbina hydroelectric plant in Amazon, aimed at generating electricity at $A90-$101/MWh.

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Brazil has become the latest nation to embrace floating solar power technology, with the announcement of a massive 350MW project at the Balbina hydroelectric plant in the Amazon.

According to reports, Brazil’s energy minister Eduardo Braga said late last week that the government planned to begin a series of pilot tests of solar power generation on hydroelectric dams within four months.

Balbina-Dam-Amazon-Brazil
Balbina Dam, Amazon, Brazil

Electricity generated by the first 350MW “pilot” plant is expected to cost between approximately $A90 and $101 per megawatt hour.

As Energy Matters notes, Brazil has a good track record on renewables, with a mostly hydro-powered supply accounting for more than 85 per cent of the domestically produced electricity used in the nation by 2009.

The country’s 250MW Balbina hydroelectric plant has, however, courted controversy, amid claims the methane released from the massive reservoir make it more greenhouse-gas intensive than most coal plants.

But the floating solar could help address this and other problems, as it has been shown to reduce water evaporation and restrict the growth of methane-producing algae. The water also helps to keep the solar panels cool, boosting their conversion efficiency.

Australia has also recently announced its first floating solar project, with construction set to begin on a PV array that will cover up to 90 per cent of the surface area of a wastewater treatment facility – and power it – in Jamestown, South Australia.

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4 Comments
  1. Horst 4 years ago

    Tell them the price son, tell them the price.

    They never say how much these installations actually cost as if they were somehow.. ashamed?
    It’s all a little bit solar-roads, cute idea but really just another potential solyndra.

    • Ronald Brakels 4 years ago

      Well, they do tell the cost. $90-$101 Australian dollars a megawatt-hour or 10-11.1 Australian cents. And you can work backwards from that to get a capital cost of under a dollar a watt. But that does seem way too low for a floating PV array, depite non-floating solar being installed in China for about that much. Perhaps there is a subsidy that lowers the price.

      But this is generating capacity. Solyndra was a factory that got beaten by the competition and went out of business. They are two very different things. (And I have to say that for them it was unfortunate for them, from our point of view, yay they got beaten and PV prices came down so fast.)

  2. 김민우 4 years ago

    It’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So Floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created in South Korea. The Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when Floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water. Recently, this Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring Systems have been used in South Korea. You can see the Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System in Ochang Dam, South Korea. I N I WORLD

  3. Raahul Kumar 4 years ago

    A floating solar panel has a big advantage of all that water making cooling easy, so the panel can perform at maximum efficiency and probably laster longer than it would otherwise. Cleaning the panels is easier as well. Good to see Brasil leading the world in one aspect of solar power.

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