Study shows Brazil’s floating solar potential



Brazilian researchers have calculated the potential of floating solar energy in Brazil, assuming that it would cover only 1% of the area of ​​artificial water bodies. The results show an installed potential of 43 GW across Brazil, with the state of Minas Gerais leading the way with 6 GW, followed by Bahia with 4.59 GW and Sao Paulo with 3.87 GW.

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have developed a mathematical model to calculate the potential of floating solar energy in Brazil and detail the results for each state.

The study only takes into account the potential production of artificial bodies of water, such as hydroelectric power plants and dams, and only 1% of their available surface area. The team used the National Water Agency’s database and QGIS software to filter artificial water bodies, which total 174,526, excluding those on native lands.

The input variables of the model are not only solar irradiance in Brazil, but also temperature, including annual mean air surface temperature and annual mean wind speed. “This paper differs from other studies that usually only deal with solar resources, ignoring the fact that the efficiency of solar modules is very sensitive to temperature,” the researchers said.

The modeled floating photovoltaic system uses modules from the Brazilian module manufacturer Globo Brasil with a power of 320 W and an efficiency of 16.49%. The model assumes that each megawatt of floating solar energy covers approximately 10,512 square meters.

The results show that Brazil could generate 79.37 GWh of electricity per year with floating solar energy, corresponding to a potential installed capacity of 43.28 GW. About 72% of this potential corresponds to hydropower plants with a potential installed capacity of 31.5 GW and a production of 57.38 GWh per year.

This floating solar potential is equivalent to almost the entire annual electricity production of Brazil’s largest hydroelectric plant, Itaipu, and 12.7% of Brazil’s total electricity production. It could provide electricity to 41 million Brazilian households, 56% of the total.

The largest potential area is the Northeast, which combines the best solar irradiance and the largest number of artificial water bodies, 10.58 GW or 24.5% of the total. It is followed by Southeast with 10.08 GW (23.3%), North with 8.5 GW (19.7%), Central with 8.2 GW (18.9%) and South with 5.93 GW (13.7%).

The results for each state are as follows:

  1. Minas Gerais: 6 GW
  2. Power: 4.59 GW
  3. São Paulo: 3.87 GW
  4. Mato Grosso do Sul: 3.73 GW
  5. Power: 3.23 GW
  6. Power: 3.16 GW
  7. Power: 2.82 GW
  8. Amazonas: 2.69 GW
  9. Rio Grande do Sul: 2.65 GW
  10. Power: 2.40 GW
  11. Tocantins: 1.214 GW
  12. Mato Grosso: 1,211 GW
  13. Rondônia: 1.18 GW
  14. Rio Grande do Norte: 816 MW
  15. Maranhão: 812 MW
  16. Power: 666 MW
  17. Power: 623 MW
  18. Pernambuco: 516 MW
  19. Santa Catarina: 463 MW
  20. Rio de Janeiro: 141 MW
  21. Alagoas: 120 MW
  22. Power: 88 MW
  23. Espírito Santo: 68 MW
  24. Roraima: 63 MW
  25. Distrito Federal Brasília: 59 MW
  26. Power: 32 MW
  27. Acre: 5MW

“Covering only 1% of the surface of artificial water bodies, it would be possible to supply 39% of the electricity consumption to the Midwest, 25% to the Northeast, 42% to the North, 8% to the Southeast and 12% to the South. The state of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS) received all its consumption and was still able to export of the produced energy to another state,” the researchers commented.

They presented their results in the paper “Technical potential of floating photovoltaic systems on artificial water bodies in Brazil”, published in Renewable energy.

David is a passionate writer and researcher who specializes in solar energy. He has a strong background in engineering and environmental science, which gives him a deep understanding of the science behind solar power and its benefits. David writes about the latest developments in solar technology and provides practical advice for homeowners and businesses who are interested in switching to solar.

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