This pilot project was designed to stress test floating solar in extreme environmental conditions.
In 2016 Energias de Portugal Group (“EDP”) designed and built the first floating solar project at an existing hydro-electric power station at a dam located at the mouth of Rabagão river in Montalegre, Portugal. The 220 kWp pilot project was initiated by EDP in 2015 and has been operating since the end of November, 2016.
EDP has said that the pilot project was designed to test floating solar in extreme environmental conditions, including the typical high water levels to the low water levels at the Alto Rabagão reservoir, aiming to evaluate the mooring capabilities of Seaflex. The system was designed to handle more than 60 meter depths, while dealing with a water level variation of 30 meters and wind of up to 31 m/s. The elastic characteristic of the Seaflex mooring system gave EDP exactly what they needed, as they soon found that the mooring could handle these rough conditions without issues.
According to EDP, one key advantage of these floating solar on dams used with hydro-electric power generation is the close proximity of a high-voltage grid connection, despite their remote locations. Seaflex is now discussing plans to construct a 4 MW project with EDP in 2020.