Empresa Metropolitana de Águas e Energia (EMAE), the energy supplier for the Brazilian state of São Paulo, has launched a tender for the deployment of four utility-scale floating PV projects. The arrays will be built at the largest water reservoir in the state, which hosts an 880 MW hydroelectric power plant.

Interested companies are invited to express interest in the development of projects aiming at future participation in free (ACL) or regulated (ACR) contracting environments. The EMAE is seeking proposals for projects ranging from 1 MW to 30 MW. The facilities will sell power on both the regulated and free energy markets. According to EMAE, a pilot project that has already been developed at the dam has demonstrated the feasibility of floating projects at the chosen location. The authority has provided developers time until December 9, 2020 to submit their proposals.

The projects could be developed until the end of the concession contract for the Henry Borden complex, in Cubatão, at end-November 2042, or another deadline to be established by power regulator Aneel.

Brazil has another 1 MW floating solar plant at the Sobradinho Dam, a 175 MW hydroelectric facility on the Sao Francisco River in Sobradinho, in the state of Bahia. The project, which will eventually be expanded to 5 MW, was launched by the company in 2016. Chesf has also installed a pilot floating PV array at the Balbina Dam, a hydroelectric facility and power station on the Uatuma River in the Amazon rainforest.

REGlobal’s Views: Floating PV offers particular advantages in Brazil, as it can be combined with existing hydroelectric projects, using their water dams and benefiting from the existing electric infrastructure. They could also bolster electricity supplies during droughts.