Assessment of technical potential of floating solar photovoltaic system for electricity generation in Zambia.

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Lumpote, Chrispin
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The University of Zambia
Sustainable hydropower development provides a reliable and stable power source that is economical and environmentally friendly. However, its investment capital is huge and unbearable to third-world countries. Hence the requirement of an alternative power source that is manageable. Zambia’s main electricity comes from hydropower whose hydrological pattern over the past decades has been facing serious threats from frequent droughts and severe weather conditions affecting the country’s power generation systems. Zambia’s hydropower is characterized by larger water Reservoirs (Mulungushi, Itezhi Tezhi, Kafue Gorge and Kariba North) which are also receiving high solar energy exceeding 2000 kWh/m2 per year. Hence, integration of floating solar PV systems with hydropower could help boost hydropower production during dry periods and save loss of water through vapor. This study aimed at assessing the technical potential of floating solar Photovoltaic Systems for electricity generation in Zambia and integrating it with hydropower generated from the existing larger hydro Reservoir. The assessment was done using Simulation Software tools (PVGIS and PV system). The findings indicates that large hydropower Reservoirs have a total surface area of 11,146 km2 and have got an equivalent annual solar energy theoretical potential of 25,610TWh. Furthermore, at 10% of total surface area coverage the geographical potential of the Monocrystalline, CIS and CdTe Solar technology were estimated at 172.76 GWP, 141.44 GWP and 116.10 GWP equivalent to annual solar electricity generation technical potential of 304TWh, 244TWh, and 211TWh respectively and annual evaporation loss savings of 505.9million m3. In short, Zambia has huge potential for integration of floating solar with hydropower using the existing power grid infrastructure and local conditions of the power stations to increase on the electricity generation for the nation. Additionally, solar energy profile fits well with electricity demand profile for Zambia which makes it a better alternative for energy mix for the country. These findings are vital to provide guidance to decision makers for inclusion of floating solar energy in the future national energy mix and conservation of land and reducing evaporation loss while optimizing utilization of existing grid infrastructures. Keywords: Evaporation loss savings, Floating Solar Photovoltaic, Grid infrastructure, Hydropower substation, Substation reserve margins, technical potential
Master Of Engineering In Electrical Power Engineering (EPE).
Floating solar photovoltaic. , Grid infrastructure. , Saline water conversion. , Solar energy desalination technology.