The Sierra Brava reservoir in Cáceres is home to a new photovoltaic solar plant whose 3,000 solar panels are arranged in an area of 12,000 square meters above water. A pioneering project that improves energy efficiency and its integration with the environment
Renewable energy continues to grow in Spain. The latest example: the recent installation of a floating photovoltaic solar plant, located in the Sierra Brava reservoir in Extremadura. A pioneering infrastructure that is set to become an example of clean technology with improved energy performance, greater integration with the natural environment and will contribute to the improvement of water quality.
This innovative photovoltaic park is the result of an investment of 1.7 million euros, mainly from the public-private partnership between Acciona and the regional government of Extremadura. It is capable of generating 1.1 megawatts (MW), making electricity production cheaper than the usual solar panels on land, as it has a greater cooling ability. The new plant, which will greatly benefit the irrigation communities of the area also places Extremadura at the technological forefront of renewable energies and represents the beginning of the expansion of this type of technology, providing great possibilities for the rest of the country and the world.
The plant is composed of 3,000 different solar panels all with their corresponding inclination and orientation (to optimise their performance), distributed in five floating structures that form a total surface of 12,000 square meters. Its location, in the town of Zorita (Cáceres), is equivalent to only 0.07 of the total 1,650 hectares of the reservoir. Respecting the environment has been fundamental in the construction of the new infrastructure: two floating islands have been included with nesting boxes for birds, in order to protect birdlife in the area and study in detail their interaction with this kind of installation.
There are many advantages to floating panels, such as the fact that they reduce the possibility of the panels overheating and therefore improves the plants overall performance. They receive full exposure to the sun thanks to having a completely flat surface, there is less evaporation of the reservoirs where they are installed and reduced algae growth which therefore improves the water quality. Floating photovoltaic energy is also of interest for hydroelectric power stations as it can share existing network connections.
China, South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands are some of the countries with the greatest commitment to floating photovoltaic solar plants. Spain’s reservoir network, with its solar-powered climate conditions, is a direct potential market for this type of technology. A new opportunity for the country to consolidate its pioneering position in the field of renewable energy, an indispensable area for post-Covid economic recovery.