Two tugboats were able to move 12,000 solar panels that equal the size of almost four soccer pitches, on Portugal’s Alqueva reservoir, to their mooring. This was done to prepare to kick start Europe’s largest floating solar park by July.
Built by the country’s utility major, EDP (EDP.LS), on Western Europe’s largest artificial lake, this shiny and floating island is part of Portugal’s master plan to cut dependence on fossil fuels that are imported, especially the prices of which have gone up surged since the war started in Ukraine.
Blessed by long hours of Atlantic winds and sunshine, Portugal has accelerated the shift to renewable sources of energy. Portugal uses zero Russian hydrocarbons but its gas-fired power plants still feel the impacts of increasing fuel prices.
The group director of EDP and in charge of the solar project, Miguel Patena, said on Thursday when the tugboats moved the panels into a position where, electricity produced from the floating park, with an installed capacity of five megawatts (MW), would cost a third of that produced from a gas-fired plant.
The panels fixed on the Alqueva reservoir are used to generate hydropower. These are likely to generate seven and a half gigawatt/hours (GWh) of electricity in one year. These would also be complemented by lithium batteries to store two GWh.
The solar panels are expected to supply 1,500 families with power or a third of the needs of the towns located close by like that Portel and Moura.