Portuguese electric utilities company Energias de Portugal (EDP) is set to begin operations of the 5MW Alqueva floating solar project in Portugal in July 2022.

The floating photovoltaic (PV) project will be powered by more than 12,000 photovoltaic panels in the Alqueva dam reservoir. The solar panels, put together, have the size of four soccer pitches, reported Reuters.

EDP group director Miguel Patena, who is in charge of the Alqueva floating solar project, said that the power produced by it will cost a third of that generated from a gas-fired power plant.

The Alqueva floating solar project involved an investment of over €4m.

Its solar panels moored on the Alqueva reservoir will produce 7.5GWh of power annually to meet the power consumption needs of over 25% of houses in the Portel and Moura regions. The project will also include the installation of lithium batteries to store 2GWh.

Patena, has been quoted by the publication, as saying: “This project is the biggest floating solar park in a hydro dam in Europe, it is a very good benchmark.”

In May 2021, EDP secured construction approval for the Alqueva project.

The company at that time stated that Alqueva will serve as a living laboratory by enabling the testing of the complementarity between dispatchable technology such as hydroelectric and non-dispatchable PV renewable energy production technologies, along with long-term pumping and short-term battery storage technologies.

EDP intends to expand the Alqueva floating solar project.

Last month, the Portuguese electric utilities company obtained the right to develop a second floating farm with an installed capacity of 70MW. The project is expected to begin operations in 2025.