Renewables

Floating solar power plant in Albania repaired

Ocean-Sun-floating-solar-power-plant-Albania

Photo: Ocean Sun

Published

April 11, 2022

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Published:

April 11, 2022

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Norway-based Ocean Sun said it got the first part of its floating solar power project at the Banja reservoir in Albania back online. A tornado damaged the 500 kW unit last year just days after it was commissioned.

Floatovoltaics are a funny name for solar panels installed on water, which helps cool the devices and improve performance. The proponents of the technology point out that covering a lake reduces evaporation – it is particularly useful for hydropower plant operators. Statkraft put the first such photovoltaic unit in the Balkans into operation almost a year ago, but disaster struck just a few days later.

The 500 kW ring-fenced system in Albania was hit by a tornado, according to Norway-based Ocean Sun, which installed it. The firm acknowledged it was partially submerged and that it suffered severe damage, but it now says that it is back online.

Ring-fenced floating PV system can withstand 50-year winds

“Ocean Sun consulted the best meteorologists to predict the new expected 50-year return winds, leading naval architects were consulted to review design and mooring for the new adverse weather conditions that we now also can expect in Europe,” according to Founder and Chief Executive Officer Børge Bjørneklett, who added that “many lessons were learned.”

Ocean Sun CEO Bjørneklett: Many lessons were learned

The demonstrator floater at Statkraft’s 72 MW Banja hydropower plant reservoir near Gramsh in central Albania is planned to consist of four equal-sized units, the update reads. Ocean Sun said the 2 MW floating photovoltaic plant would be finished this year. The investment cost was initially estimated at EUR 2 million.

Ocean Sun to enter more markets this year

The first unit spans almost 4,000 square meters and has 1,536 solar panels while a further 160 panels were placed on land nearby, Exit.al reported. The damaged assets were transported ashore to be fixed.

Ocean Sun, which also has offices in Singapore and Shanghai, said the floating power plant’s design was verified by DNV, an independent assurance and risk management provider. The Norwegian company stressed that it expects to enter several other markets by the end of the year.

One more floating solar power plant project is underway in Albania. Private and state-owned utilities in Greece, Romania and Montenegro are also making the first steps to utilize the new technology.

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