Iberdrola Plans First Floating Solar PV Power Plant in Brazil

Floating solar in Brazil
Iberdrola plants its first floating solar installation in Brazil (Fernando de Noronha)

Published Jan 5, 2023 7:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

Spanish energy giant Iberdrola group plans to install in Brazil the company's first floating photovoltaic plant in the world. The project is part of a broad set of initiatives underway to develop renewable energy and preserve the ecosystem of Brazil’s island of Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic and Iberdrola says it will allow the testing of the new solar technology.

The project will be built on the water surface of the Xaréu dam on the island of Fernando de Noronha, in the northeast part of Brazil. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site, it is the only inhabited island of the volcanic archipelago.

The installation will have around 940 panels with an output of 630 kilowatts (kW), the floating plant will generate around 1,240 megawatt hours (MWh) of green energy per year, enough to cover more than half the energy needs of the island's water and sewage distribution network. They expect it will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 1,660 tonnes per year.

Iberdrola will be working with Companhia Pernambucana de Saneamento (Compesa), which operates the water and sewage distribution network throughout the island. The project is also being supported by the Energy Efficiency Program regulated by the Brazilian National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel).

Construction is expected to start this year and Iberdrola expects to invest approximately €2 million in its development.

Previously the company has installed two solar farms, each with a capacity of 5okW designed to provide power for electric vehicles on the island. Ten electric vehicles are in use for tourist and district administration and the company plans to add 12 new charging points. As they expand electric capacity they are also promoting electric bicycles for tourists and residents including beginning to install 24 charging ports. Other applications of solar power include two onshore solar plants that generate around 10 percent of the island’s energy needs and have battery storage systems, A trial program is also implementing individual photovoltaic systems for homes and businesses.