14 July 2017

World’s 1st combined hydroelectric & solar power plant goes live

Portugal is home to the world’s first combined hydroelectric and solar power plant, which will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 100 homes for an entire year.

840 floating solar panels have been fitted to the existing Alto Rabagao dam in Portugal, which will not only increase the installation’s energy capacity by 220 kWp, but also help to minimize the erosion of the banks and reduce algae build-up.

The panels were designed by solar electricity producer Ciel & Terre International (C&T), whose floating systems are rapidly expanding to countries such as Japan and the UK.

C&T’s floating solar panels economize on land space usage, as they are installed on large banks of water.

The multi-functional installation is a demonstration of how new clean energy technologies can transform and enhance existing ones; the photovoltaic solar cells will store sunlight during the day, whilst the hydroelectric energy can be collected at night and during peak hours.

The southern European country is a prime location for the power plant, both in terms of political and temperate climate; Portugal has publicized strong renewable energy policies in recent months, and additionally sees a net average of 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.

C&T’s floating solar panels, made entirely from recyclable materials, are designed to produce energy whilst simultaneously generating profits through maximizing use of the dams.

Other countries, such as Brazil, could benefit from replicating the system if the project proves to be successful.

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