Paraguay to study potential of floating solar at 200-MW Acaray hydro plant

Studies are planned in Paraguay to determine the potential of floating solar photovoltaic capacity, specifically the installation of a pilot project at state power company ANDE’s 200-MW Acaray hydro plant.

Acaray is the country’s only 100% state-owned hydroelectric power plant and is almost 50 years old.

To support the planned work, ANDE looks to secure technical cooperation from IDB as part of a wider clean energy and efficiency program that would help the country meet Paris Agreement commitments, according to BNamericas.

“The country has an average solar irradiance of 1,725 kWh/m2/year which would allow its use mainly for residential generation or generation in isolated systems,” according to the regional lender.

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) highlights that “floating solar PV technologies, or ‘floatovoltaics,’ have seen rapid growth in the past four years, from a worldwide installed capacity of 10 MW at the end of 2014 to more than 1.1 GW by the end of 2018.” IHA adds that solar could double capacity at larger hydropower reservoirs and better manage water resources.

However, as the International Renewable Energy Agency said in a recent study: “As with any new technology, … several engineering challenges need to be overcome. For instance, mooring (or anchoring) systems must be designed to withstand the dynamic forces of waves and strong winds and, due to the novelty of the technology, mooring specialists have limited experience in applying such systems to floating PV plants.”

In Latin America, the technology is a niche segment, with its introduction limited to a few countries.

Last August, Brazilian hydropower producer Chesf launched first stage operations of a 1-MWp floating solar park at the Sobradinho reservoir, and a second phase entails the installation of a 2.5-MWp park. Combined investment reaches US$10.5 million. Chesf also has targeted the reservoir of the Boa Esperança hydro plant for a 1.25-MWp project.

For its part, Tractebel plans to install 30 MW of floating solar capacity at Brazilian generator Furnas’ 52-MW Batalha hydro.

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