The more than 1,500 solar panels of the largest photovoltaic plant on water in Spain, developed by the Irrigation Community of Mérida, will occupy an area of 6,000 square meters and its power will exceed 500 kilowatts.
In the absence of sufficient land to deploy a system of this magnitude, a raft was used to regulate the Canal de Lobón, next to the Sierra de Arroyo de San Serván, to place the floating power plant on it, he explains in an interview with EFE the communication secretary of the irrigation community, Javier Nieto.
It is the first photovoltaic plant of this type in the region and, due to its size, one of the most significant in the country. So far 1,512 plates have been installed covering an area of 6,000 square meters of the four hectares measured by the raft, an important amount that also aims to double.
The placement of the plates does not imply any impact on the quality of the water, “in principle quite the contrary, since it avoids its evaporation in the surface areas covered by the floats and the proliferation of algae, nor is it intended to cover the whole raft” , says Nieto.
This “innovative” project will allow the production of part of the electricity needed to irrigate the crops and reduce the energy cost of irrigators, whose electric bill goes up during the months of the campaign reaching up to 200,000 euros.
“The energy component is what most costs for the area of pressurized irrigation in the Community of Irrigators” said Nieto, apart from being a method of obtaining clean energy that reduces harmful emissions.
The project consists of a solar pumping installation in the Arroyo-Calamonte elevating station through a photovoltaic system with floating modules in which the plates are assembled on floats, joined in turn by a wiring that attenuates the movements of the water.
In addition, it consists of walkways that allow the necessary maintenance and cleaning.
The objective of the installation is to reduce the operational costs of the operation of the lift station by taking advantage of solar energy, thus limiting the electricity consumption of the network and reducing the carbon emissions generated by the activity.
The plan has involved an investment of 744,695 euros, of which nearly 600,000 have been subsidized by the European Agrarian Fund for Rural Development (FEADER) and the Junta de Extremadura under the framework of aid for energy efficiency.
It is expected that the first phase of the installation is completed this month and can even be launched during the current campaign that has started “soon”, in March, and will end in October. With it, at least one engine can be put into operation that supplies 5,000 hectares of pressurized irrigation, which will benefit around 1,200 Arroyo and Calamonte irrigators.
And it is planned to increase the area of panels to 12,000 square meters in a second phase under the new call for energy efficiency aids approved by the Board a few weeks ago and with which it aims to mitigate the costs of start and end of campaign.
The project and the construction management is in charge of TXT Ingeniería SL, while the group in charge of the execution is Ciansolar.