Russia begins testing its first floating solar PV plant

A floating solar PV power plant in a reservoir of Nizhne-Bureskaya hydropower plant in the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia. Image: Hevel Group.

Russia has started testing its first floating solar PV plant in a reservoir of the Nizhne-Bureskaya hydropower plant in the Far Eastern Federal District.

The 54kW floating solar plant features a pontoon block with 140 solar cells (manufactured by Hevel Group) at the largest hydropower plant in the far eastern region of Russia.

Hevel Group, Russia’s largest integrated photovoltaics company, has designed the flexible system, which features a special connection scheme of floating modules, designed to withstand several metres in water level differential and waves.

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In a statement released by RusHydro, the world’s second-largest hydroelectric power producer and Russia’s largest power-generating company, the facility is currently testing its autonomous operation as well as a joint operation with the Nizhne-Bureyskaya hydropower plant.

Once testing is complete the floating solar power plant will be situated at the headrace of the hydropower plant as an auxiliary to increase electricity production and contribute to operational efficiency.

If the need arises, the mobile solar power plant can be relocated. The way Hevel Group constructed the buoyant pontoons not only reduced the construction time but increased its mobility.

The floating solar PV plant can be dismantled very quickly and easily transported to any part of the reservoir.

The floating solar PV plant can feed into the grid or be operated in stand-alone mode thanks to installed storage batteries. The annual output of the plant is estimated to be around 53,500,000kWh.

Not the first solar solution at the hydropower plant

This first floating solar PV plant for Russia is the second hybrid generation project implemented at Nizhne-Bureyskaya hydropower plant. In December 2019, Hevel Group commissioned the first stage of a 1.2MW solar plant at the hydropower plant site. It completed performance testing in July this year and in six months that solar PV system had generated 558,700,000kWh.

The first stage solar plant covers a significant amount of the hydropower plant’s electricity demand and has helped to increase its net electricity supply into the grid and improve its efficiency.

The Nizhne-Bureskaya hydropower plant is the second stage of the Bureyskiy hydropower complex, the largest generating facility in Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District.

The facility is a counter-regulator to Bureskaya hydropower plant, one of Russia’s largest hydroelectric plants. It has an installed capacity of 320MW with an annual average electricity output of 1.67TWh and been operational since September 2019.

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