Europe's largest floating solar farm will be stationed in Portugal and will begin producing power in July of this year.
The array houses 12,000 solar panels and covers an area the size of four soccer pitches. It was built by Energias de Portugal (EDP) and towed by two tugboats to its mooring on Western Europe's largest artificial lake, the Alqueva reservoir in Portugal. The development is part of Portugal's plan to shift away from imported fossil fuels, particularly those from Russia, the price of which has surged since Russia invaded Ukraine.
According to Miguel Patena, the EDP group director in charge of the solar project, electricity from the panels will cost a third of that from gas-fired plants. The panels will be used to generate hydropower, producing 7.5 gigawatt/hours (GWh) of electricity a year, and will be accompanied by lithium batteries with the capacity to store 2 GWh.
EDP is Portugal's main electric utilities company, and the project represents part of the EDP's strategy "to go 100% green by 2030." Renewables account for 78% of the EDP's current 25.6 GW capacity.
"This project is the biggest floating solar park in a hydro dam in Europe, it is a very good benchmark," Patena said.