When contacting CSEM Brasil, Votorantim did not only seek to improve the use of its reservoirs in hydropower plants. The biggest challenge was to complement the power generation by taking advantage of the solar insolation, and explore the possibilities of organic solar panels (OPV).
Then, it was necessary to develop a specific application using organic panels, adapted to humid environment and that would not suffer large impact due to bad environment conditions. Another challenge was the innovation using 100% national technology, in which CSEM outstands in Brazil.
The project generated a photovoltaic film technology adapted to humid environments in order to complement the power generation of a Hydropower Plant (HPP). It was developed as a specific application for this type of environment in order to connect the organic solar panels to the floating structures of the hydropower plants reservoirs.
The final objective would be the implementation of this floating solar plant as part of a solution integrated with the electrical system of the HPPs – in a complementary operation mode. Then, the solar energy plant would dispatch its energy through the same transmission network as the hydropower plant, allowing the production to have a flow rate of minimum outflow.
Two prototypes were delivered and installed at the HPP. The first prototype was installed at the end of the first year of the project, as a result of the technological evolutions obtained by the R&D team with the organic photovoltaic technology.
The second prototype, which replaced the first one, was installed at Barra HPP at the end of the second year of the project. For the construction of the second delivery, in addition to the technological advances obtained by the team, CSEM Brasil optimized the modules by using data from prototype I. Both prototypes had their results on energy generation collected and processed based on analyzes performed.
Vision of the future
The complementary arrangement between solar energy and the operation of a hydropower plant can potentially offset the climate impacts due to energy generation on a national scale.
The fact that OPV is lightweight, transparent and eco-friendly places it as the best economic and environmentally viable alternative to cogenerate energy in hydropower plants.