The implementation of floating solar farms is gaining popularity in many parts of the world including North America, Asia, and Europe. It is particularly well suited to be used as an energy supplement at existing hydro facilities that have a storage reservoir, as it not only makes use of the existing space but also allows for storage of excess hydro energy while the solar farm is producing at its peak power and generation when solar energy is not available. Other advantages that are commonly quoted include reducing the amount of evaporation and making better use of the existing electrical infrastructure. The construction of floating solar facilities has gained traction worldwide with more than 1.5GW already installed. The demand is particularly strong in South-East Asia with a minimum of 11,000 MW in planned installations and an energy potential of at least 120 GWh being projected over the next 10 years.
The type of hybrid operation that combines floating solar with hydro power offers a great amount of synergy, resulting in increased revenues and added flexibility in terms of water resource management. To best realize monitoring, control and optimization of such an operation, integrated software solutions can be used, including decision software systems, together with artificial intelligence infrastructure. This flexible architecture enables hybrid plant control that seamlessly integrate energy management services (such as weather forecast and electricity market information), local SCADA and control, optimization tools for dispatch and scheduling, as well as any other relevant elements.
This poster will discuss the process of optimizing the design and joint operation of a floating solar-hydro plant from a merchant perspective, i.e., the energy from a hybrid hydro-solar facility is provided as a single entity, regardless of its source. To further illustrate the benefits of a well-managed hybrid hydro-solar system, a detailed solar-hydro simulation model was developed based on an actual hydro system with solar time-series introduced for each reservoir and used as the basis for this presentation.