Global green power giant Iberdrola will leap into floating solar with a debut project on a Brazilian eco-paradise island.
The Spanish group will build the €2m ($2.1m) PV array on the waters of the Xaréu dam on the island of Fernando de Noronha, part of a volcanic archipelago off Brazil’s northeast.
The 630kWh array will provide about half the energy needs of Compesa, the utility that runs water and sewage on the island, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, said Iberdrola, whose Neoenergia subsidiary will start building the project by the end of the year as part of a raft of initiatives there.
Iberdrola said the floating solar project will be its first globally and will allow the company to evaluate its wider potential.
Floating PV has rapidly gained traction around the world thanks to its ability to tap reservoirs, lakes and other water surfaces in areas where building on land is constrained or would cause environmental damage.
Wiring in floating solar arrays to existing hydropower reservoirs around the world could change the face of the global energy system by meeting nearly 50% of total electricity demand, according to a 2020 study by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Floating PV has more recently also started the journey offshore, with arrays designed to survive harsh conditions planned in Europe and Asia.