Noria’s Aquasol project combines Floating Solar with Hydro in Colombia

June 26, 2023
The pilot project, installed at the 340 MW Urrá hydropower plant in the Sinú River basin in Córdoba, is expected to produce nearly 2,400 MWh of power in its first year, avoid more than 1,540 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year

California-based C&I Energy Transition firm Noria Energy has designed and developed a 1.5 MW floating solar project at Urrá Dam in Colombia.

The company, along with its partners 1Solution, DISICO S.A, G&C, Isigenere, and Seaflex, has created, developed, and installed the floating photovoltaic system as a pilot project, the Urrá pilot, called Aquasol, for the independent power producer URRÁ S.A. The project contains more than 2,800 solar modules.

"Worldwide, around 60% of renewable energy comes from hydropower. That represents countless opportunities to deploy floating solar that can maximize zero-emission energy generation and diversify clean energy sources," said Noria Energy CEO Jonathan Wank.

The solar power system will help understand that hydroelectric dams dealing with fluctuating water levels can pair with floating solar generation to boost energy reliability and increase production. The floating solar system, placed on top of the water, can resist water-level fluctuations of up to 120 feet and avoid land-use conflicts.

The pilot project, installed at the 340 MW Urrá hydropower plant in the Sinú River basin in Córdoba, is expected to produce nearly 2,400 MWh of power in its first year, avoid more than 1,540 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, and generate over $1.2 million in additional electric power revenue over 20 years.

“I'm thrilled that my home country is hosting this innovative project,” said Jairo Criollo, Co-founder and Head of Business Development at Noria. “What we have learned from this project will help us develop other Aquasol projects in Colombia and around the world."

Noria Energy will help differentiate production and efficiency of Aquasol to that of a ground-mounted solar system installed on the shore as part of the pilot project. The company will also use the data from Aquasol to design and model larger-scale systems to maximize the generation potential of floating solar and hydroelectric dams.

Noria has also developed a  4.78 MW floating solar system  currently operating in North America. The project provides about 8 percent of the electricity in Healdsburg, California.