Hosted by EDP, the Fresher kick-off was successfully held in Alto Rabagão, Portugal. The partners from Spain, Portugal and Sweden gathered to discuss the collaboration in the project while getting to know each other in the process.
Expectations were high as the project partners met to discuss collaboration and the next steps of FreShER. EDP P is in a tender process for the purchasing of all the equipment required for the Projecto Solar Flutuante para a Barragem do Alqueva which has a good timing in line for the Fresher project allowing to test the innovative mooring solutions. Because of this, discussions partly included LNEC (Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil) to support with answers regarding the permit project.
The kick-off meeting also included a site visit to the Alto Rabagão Floating Solar Photovoltaic pilot project where floatovoltaics are added to the Alto Rabagão pumped storage project, in Montalegre, northern Portugal. This pilot park is used to assess the technical and economic feasibility for potential future large-scale PV installations. The pilot project comprised of 840 PV panels occupying a total area of 2500m2, with an installed capacity of 220 kW and estimated annual output of 300 MWh. The Alto Rabagão dam, a pumped storage reservoir, was chosen for its large size and adverse climatic conditions that allowed testing of the technology under the most technically demanding conditions. During the first year of installation, the net output generated was 5 per cent higher than forecasted, which represented an increase of 15 MWh in annual output, mainly due to favourable weather conditions. The mooring system withstood strong winds, waves up to one meter high, water level variations of 30 metres, and a rocky soil riverbed with maximum depth of 60 metres, all of which tested the limits of structural integrity and mooring design. Although the system’s technical performance has surpassed expectations, the technology would still require further improvements to a cost-efficient mooring solution to become economically feasible.