The pilot floating photovoltaic plant, which has a capacity of 22 kilowatts-peak (kWp) is located on the upper reservoir of the Štěchovice pumped-storage power plant, in Central Bohemia. Czech utility CEZ Group is testing floating PV as a potential contributor to the transition towards a net-zero energy system.
The pilot facility is located at different heights during the charge and recharge cycles of the pumped-hydro plant and the difference in height may reach up to nine metres.
The East-West oriented photovoltaic system was built with air-filled floats with a carrying capacity of over six tons. The floats and several rails attached to the walls of the pumped-hydro facility are intended to maintain the system stably against adverse weather conditions and the water’s vertical movement, CEZ Group said in a statement.
“Photovoltaics has enormous potential and we do not want to underestimate any area of their application,” said Jan Kalina, member of the board of directors and director of CEZ’s renewable and classic energy division. He added that the expectations for PV on water surfaces are high but it needs to be tested in the Czech environment.
“If we are convinced by the pilot project at Štěchovice, we would like to multiply its output five-fold in the summer,” said Ms Kalina.
One of the most important advantages of these types of hybrid systems is easy access to the grid due to the presence of the hydropower plant. Floating PV can also help reduce water loss from evaporation in the reservoirs and it avoids land use.
CEZ Group currently owns and operates 126 megawatts (MW) of PV capacity in Czechia. By 2030, the Group wants to contribute to the transformation of the Czech energy sector into a zero-emission sector, by building up renewable energy sources with a capacity of as much as 6 gigawatts (GW).