The 200 kilowatt (kW) floating solar project of renewable energy group SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) is now operational.
Norwegian firm Ocean Sun with Chinese solar firm GCL-SI built the floating solar system in the 1,170-hectare Magat reservoir, one of the Philippines’ largest reservoirs.
The said infrastructure will undergo a 10-month stress-test to see if it can withstand inflows and typhoons. The floating solar technology is said to also service house load requirements for SNAP’s Magat hydroelectric power plant, which currently generates 360 MW.
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has been supportive of the floating solar technology. He noted that solar is an essential component in meeting the country’s energy requirements, while also highlighting the hazardous effects of solar fields on agricultural land use.
Ocean Sun’s chief technology officer Dr. Børge Bjørneklett said that the northern parts of the Luzon were the areas usually affected by typhoons which makes it challenging.
“The high wind force, as well as considerable water level variation, had to be accounted for in the mooring analysis of the installation. The pilot has been in operation only a couple of weeks but will be tested through the rainy season and the months to come,” he was quoted as saying in a PV-Tech article.
“The system is well-instrumented and we expect to acquire new knowledge and continue to make improvements on details of the design. We are particularly interested to further explore technical aspects and validate the performance of our direct cooling principle via the special floating membrane,” he added.
The 52-metre floating solar could be expanded to 450 hectares once it passed the stress-test.
Although Dr. Bjørneklett cannot confirm the future size of the project but noted that “by putting up several floater units it’s possible to expand to a sizable utility installation of several hundred MWs. There is strong interest to do this if the pilot tests are positive.”