Acciona Energía expands floating solar project in Spain – Offshore Energy

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Acciona Energía has added a new photovoltaic (PV) floating system to its floating solar power plant at the Sierra Brava reservoir in Spain, constructed by Norwegian company Ocean Sun, as part of a pilot project to evaluate the system’s performance.

Source: Acciona Energía

The project’s expansion will involve testing a new floating solar technology, comprising a hydro-elastic membrane that serves to support PV modules. Ocean Sun completed the construction of a 250 kWp floating solar demonstrator, making the estimated capacity of the floating solar power plant a total of 1.375 MWp.

Comprising a two-millimeter-thick reinforced hydro-elastic membrane, the new structure provides the foundation for 770 PV modules. This membrane incorporates a proprietary mooring and anchoring system, enhancing its flexibility and durability against intense waves and wind.

“We are thrilled to learn more about Ocean Sun’s proprietary membrane-based system by having it as part of our testbed. The technology is radically different from the other solutions we are testing, and we look forward to acquiring firsthand experience of the system to evaluate future commercial projects,” said Javier Abajo, Project Manager at ACCIONA Energía.

According to Acciona, the floating solar system is adaptable for deployment in reservoirs, marshes, and also marine environments. These PV modules are fixed at a 0º angle to bypass the impact of strong winds and prevent any potential “sail effect.” 

The new module follows five adjoining floating systems, where the company is assessing the behavior and efficacy of various floating solar solutions.

“We are very proud and excited about this project with ACCIONA Energía. They are a world leading renewables company and a pioneer within floating solar and as such an excellent customer for Ocean Sun going forward. Furthermore, I’m very pleased with the team at Ocean Sun, successfully delivering an impressive single-ring floater on a turnkey basis for the very first time,” said Kristian Tørvold, CEO of Ocean Sun.

The Sierra Brava floating solar plant started operating in July 2020, becoming the first grid-connected floating PV facility in Spain. According to Acciona, it is an experimental hub for testing different floating technologies in a real environment, and to gain knowledge in construction, operation and maintenance, and environmental monitoring. 

The pilot floating solar plant now comprises 3,770 PV modules covering an area of over 12,000 square meters. 

Acciona Energía’s pilot project at Sierra Brava includes environmental monitoring programs, focused on bird protection and interaction with floating solar facilities. Measures such as installing two floating platforms to encourage the reproduction of bird species, and placing 20 nesting boxes for them, aim to conserve local fauna. 

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