Romania preparing 20 MW floating solar power project on irrigation canals


Photo: iStock


September 12, 2023



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September 12, 2023



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The National Agency for Land Improvement of Romania is set to apply for European funds for a floating solar park on a network of irrigation canals east of Bucharest.

Installing solar power panels over canals has numerous advantages. They reduce evaporation and the water below keeps the devices cooler, which boosts efficiency. Investors in such projects avoid ownership and licensing issues while staying off land that is used for food production. The biggest endeavors of the kind are underway in India and California.

The banks of canals can also be used for solar power plants, like in one project in Slovenia just downstream from a hydropower plant.

Romania apparently wants to try something different. A project discovered by Economedia shows the National Agency for Land Improvement (ANIF) is about to apply for funding from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP or, in Romanian, PNRR) for a floating solar power project.

Canal network has good access to power grid

It would be conducted on four irrigation canals in the Gălățui-Călărași area, which were rehabilitated last year. The government plans to complete the 20 MW project by the end of 2025, the article adds. Annual production is estimated at 20.4 GWh. According to the documentation, the canal network has a good connection to the electricity grid, which would be used by the future so-called floatovoltaics.

The government plans to complete the project by the end of 2025

Floating solar power plants are even better in preventing evaporation and the water cools them more than photovoltaic arrays above water. There is also the benefit of a power source for irrigation pumps. Still, some scientists are concerned about the technology’s impact on aquatic life. There are safety issues as well.

It isn’t clear how ANIF would deal with the water flow as such floaters are usually put on lakes, mostly artificial reservoirs.

Construction of one small floating power plant was funded with Norwegian grant

Earlier, TMK Hydroenergy Power, formerly a part of CEZ Group, launched a project for a 1 MW floating solar power plant on the reservoir of its Grebla small hydropower plant. It is located near Reșița in Caraș-Severin county, in Romania’s far west.

The investment of EUR 1.2 million was 60% covered by a grant from Innovation Norway, part of the program of EEA (European Economic Area) and Norway Grants 2014-2021. The power plant is envisaged to consist of 550 W panels and generate 1.09 GWh per year.

Macquarie Asset Management completed the takeover of TMK Hydroenergy Power in 2021, together with Czech-based CEZ’s other businesses in Romania.

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