Title: Exploiting existing dams for solar PV system installations
Citation: PROGRESS IN PHOTOVOLTAICS vol. 24 no. 2 p. 229–239
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC92337
ISSN: 1062-7995
URI: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pip.2640/full
DOI: 10.1002/pip.2640
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Recognizing the issues of land shortage and growing concerns for protecting natural lands, installers and project developers, with the help of scientists and engineers, continuously try to locate alternative spots for photovoltaic (PV) system installations. In the present paper a novel approach is suggested and analysed: installing solar PV systems on the downstream face of existing dams. This approach provides advantages that could favour even large-scale systems with a capacity of several MW. Firstly, produced energy could cover water reservoirs’ needs supporting energy-intensive processes as water pumping and treatment in a sustainable manner. Moreover, energy provision to inhabited areas near the dams and the subsequent creation of independent mini grids could mitigate energy poverty. In the case of hydroelectric dams, the so-created hybrid system (PV-hydro) could become notably efficient, because the intermittent solar energy would be counterbalanced by the flexibility of hydropower. Finally, we found a notable number of existing water reservoirs in Africa that are either under-utilized or non-powered. That unexploited energy potential can also be amplified by PV-system installation. The analysis included data collection from various sources. Datasets have been cross-checked and extended in the newly created GIS-based model, enabling the selection of the most suitable sites in South Africa, taken as case studies. Following their identification, the selected dams have been analysed using the PVGIS tool in order to estimate the annual energy production. The results have been very encouraging, indicating that PV-systems on the face of dams are an advantageous option for renewable energy production.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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