floating solar Statkraft
One of four Ocean Sun floating solar units to be installed on the dam. Image credit: Statkraft

Norwegian renewable energy major, Statkraft, has announced that, along with supplier Ocean Sun, it is ready to start the construction of a 2MWp floating solar pilot project in the reservoir of the 72MW Banja hydropower plant in Albania.

The pilot has an estimated total investment of €2 million ($2.26 million).

The Banja plant, on the Devoll River, was commissioned in 2016.

“Now that all regulatory approvals are in place, we have issued a notice to proceed to Ocean Sun for implementing the first phase of the project. We look forward to starting construction by the end of June,” says Statkraft’s Head Advisor IP Strategy and Asset Management, Tom Kristian Larsen.

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In this first phase, supplier Ocean Sun will deliver a floating 0.5-MWp DC system based on its design for floating solar technology. The floating power plant is expected to be finalized in Q4 2020.

Subject to the first unit performing in accordance with requirements, Statkraft will proceed with the second phase of the project, which will add additional three floating 0.5-MWp units in 2021, bringing the total solar capacity on the Banja reservoir to 2 MWp.

According to a press release, testing new technology for floating solar power panels fits very well with Statkraft’s strategy to grow the company’s renewable energy generation from hydro, wind and solar. If the technology is proven successful and the potential for cost-competitiveness can be achieved, a wider application of floating solar may take place in other Statkraft locations.

“Ocean Sun is very pleased to start construction for Statkraft. The project represents the first sizable installation in the south of Europe and a milestone in our pursuit of clean and affordable energy from floating solar”, said Børge Bjørneklett, chief executive officer of Ocean Sun.

Originally published on Hydro Review.