ACCIONA starts construction of first grid-connected floating solar PV plant in Spain

Spain-based infrastructure and renewable energy company ACCIONA announced it has started building the first grid-connected floating photovoltaic solar plant in Spain, in the region of Extremadura.

The new floating plant, which is expected to be completed by mid-year, has been conceived as a pilot facility, created with the aim of studying the most suitable technical solutions for the installation of solar panels on lakes and reservoirs.

The installation  is to be located close to the southern shore of the Sierra Brava reservoir  in Zorita (Cáceres), which is an artificial 1,650-hectare reservoir built in 1996, fed by the waters of the Pizarroso stream. The floating solar plant will cover around 12,000m2, which will represent around 0.07% of the reservoir’s surface area.

The  Sierra Brava floating PV plant will consist of five adjacent floating systems supplied by the companies Amilibia Marinas, Isigenere and Stansol, anchored to the bottom of the reservoir and linked to the shore by a jetty.

Each system will have 600 photovoltaic panels with an estimated total capacity of 1,125-megawatt peak (MWp), that will be connected to three 60kW inverters that will convert the direct current generated by the panels to alternate current.

Each inverter will be connected to a small transformer centre that will rise the low-voltage current (400 V) to medium voltage (22 kV), and from there it will be sent underground along a 1.4-kilomtre power line to the grid connection point.

A small hub will be built to house operation and maintenance services, a control room, a visitor reception area and a meteorological station  connected to the control hub by fibre optics that will measure parameters of interest such as solar radiation, temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, air pressure and precipitation.

Environmental monitoring will be an important aspect, particularly on birdlife in the area, with the dual aim of protecting birds and studying their interaction with this kind of installation.

The project received funding from the Spanish Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI).

Belén Linares, Director of Innovation at ACCIONA’s Energy Division said:

“True to our philosophy of being pioneers in the search for advanced, clean and sustainable energy solutions, we are developing a very innovative project to better grasp the commercial development of floating plants. This is especially important in areas where this option proves more suitable than conventional land-based plants, where there may be a lack of land for residential or agricultural use or particular geographical characteristics.”

Source: Press Release by ACCIONA. Photo credit: © ACCIONA.