Experimental Floating PV Plant In Lithuania

Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba & Kaunas University of Technology In Lithuania Seek European Union Support For 60 kW Floating Solar Power Pilot Project Atop Kruonis Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant; Scope To Expand PV Capacity To 250 MW
  • Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba and scientists from Kaunas University of Technology propose to develop a 60 kW experimental floating solar power plant in Lithuania with battery storage facility
  • The team proposes to develop an algorithm to independently manage the plant that will come up at the Kruonis Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant
  • Full-scale floating solar power plant on the reservoir could translate into 200 MW to 250 MW of PV
  • The team is seeking financial support from the European Union for the project that is targeted to be operational by 2021

Lithuanian company Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba (LEG) plans to build an 'experimental' floating solar PV plant with 60 kW capacity along with a battery storage component at the Kruonis Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant (Kruonis PSHP). If successful, there will be scope to expand the floating PV plant to reach an approximate capacity of 200 MW to 250 MW, it said.

The company has roped in scientists from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) for the project for what it calls the 'first such power plant in the countries of the region distinguished by technical solutions'.

LEG is an energy holding company in Lithuania and is part of the state-owned Lietuvos Energija (LE) Group. In May 2018, LE released its Energy Strategy for 2030, targeting 1.19 GW of solar (see Lithuanian Utility Planning 1.19 GW Solar).

It wants to deploy the floating PV panels on the area of the upper-reservoir of the 900 MW Krunois PSHP that itself covers over 300 hectares.

According to the company, there are some 400 pumped storage hydroelectric power plants (PSHP) plants in the world that offer a huge potential to exploit their reservoir areas, but operators in certain regions don't know what to do with it in winter time, when reservoirs are frozen. Floating solar PV plants offer one such way to better utilise the space.

The consortium of LEG and KTU proposes to develop an algorithm that would make it possible to manage the solar power plant independently. It will be designed to adjust to water-level variations and will be resistant to waves and ice, elements that add value for the operators of the power plants, according to the company.

"Having collected and evaluated data of the experimental activities of the demo floating solar power plant will help us to adequately assess the idea to cover the whole 300 hectares of the upper reservoir of Kruonis PSHP by floating solar modules. In case of success this project will deliver an opportunity to discover and take a full-advantage of the synergy of both – solar energy and water flow while providing the services necessary for the electricity system," said Eglė Čiužaitė, the chair of the Board and CEO of Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba.

The team has prepared a business plan and is seeking financial support from the European Union's research, development and innovation program, "Intelligence. Joint science – business projects" to make it a reality. The company plans to have the project operational by 2021.

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