US based Noria Energy has launched a 1.5 MW floating solar plant in Colombia, calling it the largest such project in South America; China’s CITIC Group plans to build a solar plant with over 600 MW installed capacity in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Norte; Spain’s Solartia bags South Korean auction to expand its solar and storage hybrid microgrid project on Guanaja island of Honduras.
Floating solar in Colombia: US based renewable energy company Noria Energy has launched the ‘largest’ floating solar project in South America’s Colombia with 1.5 MW capacity. The Aquasol facility is installed on the reservoir of the 340 MW Urrá Hydropower Plant in the Sinú River basin in Córdoba, as a pilot project for independent power producer Urra S.A.E.S.P. It is equipped with more than 2,800 slar modules and expected to produce close to 2,400 MWh annually in the first year of its operation. This is enough to offset the amount of energy it takes to operate the dam.
Noria says it ‘will demonstrate that hydroelectric dams dealing with fluctuating water levels can pair with floating solar generation to boost energy reliability and increase production’. It will also generate clean energy when the water level is low enough to reduce hydroelectric output. The floating system was designed, developed and installed by Noria along with its partners 1Solution, DISICO S.A, G&C, Isigenere, and Seaflex. The company will also assist in comparing Aquasol’s production and efficiency to that of a ground-mounted solar system installed on the shore which will help set up more such projects in Colombia and elsewhere.
600 MW solar plant in Brazil: China’s CITIC Group Corporation plans to build more than 600 MW solar PV capacity in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Norte (RN). The project will incur an estimated investment of BRL 2.5 billion and will be located in the Municipality of Assu-RN, announced the RN Governor Fátima Bezerra. The project will be CITIC Group’s maiden investment in the Northeast, stated the governor’s office. Construction is scheduled to begin in November 2023. Coordinator of Energy Development for RN, Hugo Fonseca said the project will take almost 3 years to be implemented.
Hybrid solar & storage microgrids in Honduras: Spain’s Solartia has won an auction to build 6.34 MW hybrid solar PV and 2.32 MW battery energy storage hybrid microgrid and energy storage project on the island of Guanaja, Honduras . The project is backed by the Government of South Korea. For the company, it is an expansion of a 0.6 MW PV and 0.7 MW storage capacity on the same island for which it secured an award from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2022.
“To the complexity of hybrid microgrids, we must add the difficulty of moving equipment and materials to remote areas, far from industrialized areas and surrounded by closed jungle,” said one of Solartia engineers in charge of this project, Juan José Suberviola.
In April 2023, South Korea had launched an international tender for a hybrid energy project on the island of Guanaja with its Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) providing financing and executed by the Korean Institute for Technological Advancement (KIAT). This round was open to companies in Central America, Europe and Korea, said Solartia. Guanaja along with the islands of Roatán and Utila make up the archipelago of the Bay Islands of Honduras.