Brazil has installed the first phase of a floating PV system on a hydroelectric dam to provide electricity at a time when drought is affecting output from the hydro plant, according to Brazil’s energy agency EPE.
The project is located on the Balbina hydroelectric plant in the Amazon and EPE claims this is the first ever use of floating solar on hydro plants. The first phase of the Balbina plant includes a 1MW PV installation, which will be expanded to 5MW at a later date. A similar project will be launched at the Sobradinho power plant in Bahia on 11 March.
Due to a drought, the substation and transmission capacity of the Balbina hydro plant is being underutilised so the solar projects can produce energy to make use of that idle capacity and reduce tariff costs, said energy minister Eduardo Braga.
Both solar projects require an investment of nearly BRL100 million (US$26.7 million) with plans for completion of 10MW overall by January 2019.