The Untapped Potential of Combining FPV with Hydropower Reservoirs in Africa

Africa is blessed with sunlight throughout the year with solar irradiance levels reaching over 2000 kWh/m2 In spite of this fact, 90% of electricity generation in countries including Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia is supplied by hydropower.

In recent decades though, increasingly frequent droughts have severely affected the hydropower power output. For instance, in 2016, water losses due to evaporation in African hydroelectric reservoirs amounted to 42 billion cubic meters, according to PV-Magazine.

A study conducted by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission reports that installing floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems exceeding 5 MW in size on 146 of the largest operational hydropower reservoirs in Africa can generate electricity equivalent to 50% of the total electricity generation from these 146  hydropower reservoirs. it is accessible only by 1% coverage of these hydropower reservoirs. Besides, it prevents evaporation of nearly 743 million m3/year of valuable freshwater which again enhances the hydropower electricity generation by 170 GWh. Floating PV projects is one of the newer trends of Solar Energy and there is a neck to neck comptetion for deploying largest floating PV projects.

Potenrial of Floating Solar PV +Hydropower

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Source:@ Rocio Gonzalez Sanchez & @Solar_Edition
Photo:@NREL & @Solar_Edition
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