TIRANA, June 3
The first unit of Banja floating solar plant started commercial operations and is now supplying Albania’s grid with renewable electricity, Statkraft confirmed on Thursday morning.
Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy in cooperation with Norwegian supplier Ocean Sun completed the first unit of the floating solar power plant at Banja Reservoir near the dam of the Banja hydropower plant (HPP). (see video below)
The unit consists of a floating ring and a thin membrane. It comprises 1536 solar panels, has an installed capacity of 0.5 MWp, and covers almost 4,000 square meters. Combined with the cooling of the panels from the water below, it is the membrane and the large area that make this concept unique. The technology is developed by Ocean Sun and even though the membrane is only a few millimeters thick, it can easily withstand the weight of the solar panels and of personnel carrying out installation or maintenance tasks.
In addition, 160 equal panels have been placed on land for comparison and documentation of the cooling effect on the floating panels.
According to Statcraft, the second implementation stage of the project will continue during the second half of 2021. Three floating units will be installed with a combined additional capacity of 1.5 MWp. The solar plant is comprised of four floating units of 0.5 MWp each, with a total installed capacity of 2 MWp. The planned investment of this project is approximately EUR 2 million.
“This is a great milestone in an innovative floating solar project, and it is exciting to see the plant come alive and provide additional renewable energy production in Albania,” CEO of Statkraft, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen said.
On his part, the CEO of Ocean Sun Børge Bjørneklett pointed out that the first phase of the project demonstrated a safe, simple, and fast construction methodology that can be installed at a record speed.