It is reported that Brazil’s hydropower capacity of 12 gigawatts is in a state of insufficient production. Large scale floating PV projects, with their high capacity factor, load correlation and high potential output during the peak power demand season, have become an ideal solution to make up for this deficiency.
Large scale floating photovoltaic power generation project is an ideal solution to compensate the insufficient power generation of Daba hydropower station, because it has considerable capacity coefficient and the ability to improve the overall system reliability and reduce load reduction to the greatest extent. This is one of the main conclusions of the paper “floating photovoltaic system as an alternative to the under production of Amazon dam” recently published in the renewable and sustainable energy review. Researchers at Michigan State University, who conducted the study, assessed the potential of megawatt class floating PV plants in Brazil’s energy landscape.
Investing heavily in such projects for many dams in the country will improve the reliability of the overall system and give hydropower station operators greater dispatching flexibility during peak demand periods. It could also help Brazil generate more electricity without building new dams.
Currently, Brazil’s total installed hydropower capacity is 109.1 GW, but the Brazilian government’s goal is to reach 114.4 GW by 2023. But the country’s extensive hydropower infrastructure has shown a rather fragile state. For example, the severe drought in 2014 prompted the government to invest more in wind and solar energy.
Brazil’s total power generation, including all forms of energy, is currently about 161 gigawatts, which means that more than half of the country’s total energy demand is met by hydropower. But this is constrained by the fact that about 12 gigawatts of Brazil’s existing hydropower facilities are under producing.
The deployment of floating PV systems on these dams has dual advantages. First of all, since there is no need to add substations or transmission lines, the construction of photovoltaic projects can be cheaper. Secondly, floating PV power generation gives hydropower operators the opportunity to use these power generation projects as a form of energy storage for scheduling, so as to compensate for the variable output of solar PV power generation.
Based on the assumption that the rated capacity is equivalent to the insufficient production in the report, the scientists evaluated the system adequacy of the floating PV power station in the dam reservoir at all locations. They focused on the system reliability index before and after adding floating photovoltaic power generation capacity.
Their analysis shows that floating solar projects can be an ideal solution due to their high capacity factor, load dependence and high potential output during high demand periods. They said, “in order to evaluate the impact of peak load increase on system reliability, we set the peak load of the system to increase by 4% per year. The results also show that the capacity coefficient of photovoltaic system is very important, and the overall average capacity coefficient is 42%. “
For example, the load loss probability (LOLP) refers to its outage probability. By adding floating PV projects, LOLP can be increased by about 55.5%. But at present, the government plans to build more hydropower capacity in the Amazon region, which will only increase LOLP by 46.2%.
At present, on the San Francisco River in sobradinho, Bahia, the 175 MW hydropower station on the sobradinho dam in Brazil is equipped with a 1 MW floating solar power plant. The project was started in 2016 by the contractor, companhia hidroel é trica do so Francisco (ches), and will eventually expand to 5 MW. Chesf also has a pilot floating photovoltaic array at the balbina dam, a hydropower station, and the Utama river power station in the Amazon rainforest.
Engineering company Tractebel, a subsidiary of French energy giant engie, is also carrying out preliminary design of 30 MW floating photovoltaic power generation capacity for the 52.2 MW Batalha hydropower station. The power station is owned by eletrobras Furnas, a state-owned power producer.
Editor in charge ajx