Luxembourg’s first floating solar farm, which will power nearly 800 homes in time, began operating late last month.
The floating solar farm has been installed on a former cooling pond, the property of ArcelorMittal Differdange.
It comprises 25,000m2 of solar panels, with a surface area of 5.7 hectares. The power plant has seven sets of solar panels installed on the water surface of less than 1% of the entire reservoir. The farm is reportedly equivalent to about 70 soccer fields.
Its owners claim that the solar panels and floating platforms are all eco-friendly and do not impact the underwater environment.
According to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, this is the world’s largest hydro-floating solar hybrid system.
It said that its main feature is the fact it can generate electricity from both solar power during the day and hydropower from an existing dam, when there is no sunlight or during peak power demand at night.
Luxembourg’s first floating solar farm
In a statement, a spokesperson for the authority said:
“An energy management system (EMS), along with a weather forecast system, control and manage the plant, increase the stability of the power system.”
“Therefore, it can generate electricity longer and lower the limitations of renewable energy.”
“In the future, EGAT plans to build a renewable energy control centre that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to increase power generation efficiency.”
The project’s aim is to reduce the “environmental burden and economic uncertainty” of fossil fuels.
The floating solar farm’s electricity will be fed into the local grid and contribute to Luxembourg’s energy self-sufficiency.
Eventually, the electricity produced will amount to 3 GWh/year, i.e., the annual electricity usage of 3,200 people, to become sustainably self-reliant.
Boonyanit Wongrukmit, Governor of EGAT, revealed that the 45-MW Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project’s aim is to
- Enhance the country’s power system security;
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions of around 47,000 tons/year;
- Provide clean energy to help mitigate global warmin
Wongrukmit also pointed out that the project will help create employment and generate income for the local community.
It has outlined that the power plant will be open to the general public from January 2022.
In 2019, the Luxembourg government issued a call for projects to produce electricity from solar energy.
ArcelorMittal and Enovos partnered to carry out the “first project of its kind” in the Grand Duchy.
Following feasibility studies and obtaining necessary administrative permits, construction began in March 2021, and the plant was commissioned on October 21st, 2021.
According to the two partners, the construction project involved thirty people for more than six months.
They installed the floating solar structure and the transformer station first, and then made the electrical connection.
The highlight of this project phase was the drilling under the rail network adjacent to the basin.
This allowed the cables needed to connect the installation to the public network to be laid.
According to the authority, placing solar panels on the water surface:
- Helps reduce the panels’ heat. It claims this is 10-15% more efficient than solar panels installed on land;
- Reduces water evaporation in the dam around 460,000 m3/year.
Also, the authority confirmed that it will progress with a further 15 projects nationwide, totalling 2,725MW.
Its main aim, as a “clean energy leader”, is to drive the country towards a sustainable low-carbon society and achieve the goal of net-zero emissions.