Construction begins on innovative solar project at Montelupone hydroelectric plant, Italy24 May 2023
Enel Green Power has begun construction of a new solar power plant at the Montelupone hydroelectric power plant in the Marche region of Italy. The initiative involves the installation of a photovoltaic roof over a diversion channel.
The one-kilometer-long photovoltaic roof will have a capacity of 1 MW, generating enough clean energy to power approximately 450 households. This setup is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by around 580 tons and save approximately 300 thousand cubic meters of methane consumption.
One of the significant advantages of this project is that it utilizes existing infrastructure, eliminating the need for additional land. The photovoltaic cover also minimizes the impact on the surrounding landscape.
In addition to renewable energy generation, the project offers various other benefits. CCTV cameras will be installed to deter theft and unauthorized water withdrawals, while fiber-optic cabling will facilitate the placement of hydraulic sensors, enhancing safety measures. An automated mechanism will promptly respond to water leaks by shutting down the flow upstream to mitigate the risk of flooding.
The project aligns with the region's commitment to sustainability and water management. The photovoltaic cover's shading effect will reduce evaporation, optimizing both hydropower production and irrigation withdrawal, particularly during periods of drought.
The Montelupone project, which is inspired by similar examples already implemented abroad, is the first Enel. It will however serve as a pioneer for similar initiatives, with plans underway for future projects, including one in Narzole, Piedmon,t which has already received authorisation. These projects aim to leverage the potential of hydropower infrastructure by integrating solar panels on dams and implementing floating photovoltaic systems in load collection tanks.