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By Sergio Goncalves
LISBON, July 1 (Reuters) - Portugal's main utility EDP will scale up its offshore floating solar farms in Southeast Asia, hoping to get a big slice of the 16 gigawatts of photovoltaic power the region is expected to install on rivers and seas by 2030.
CEO Miguel Stilwell said on Friday the first of these farms, with a capacity of 5 megawatts, launched last year in Singapore by its unit Sunseap, Southeast Asia's fourth-largest solar operator, showed "positive and encouraging results".
"EDP sees this new technology as a good trigger for its expansion in Southeast Asia, and is already evaluating and developing other projects there," Stilwell told Reuters on the sidelines of the U.N. Ocean Conference in Lisbon.
The Singapore park, the size of five soccer pitches with 13,300 solar panels and 30,000 floats, produced 6.1 GW/hour, enough to power 1,250 homes, in its first year of operation which ended in March, he said.
EDP's wind power unit EDP Renovaveis bought Sunseap in December to access fast-growing renewable energy markets in Asia-Pacific, where it plans to invest S$10 billion ($7.19 billion) by 2030.
Sunseap's portfolio had 5.5 GW of projects at different stages of development in nine markets: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Oslo-based consultancy Rynstad Energy said in October that Southeast Asia could become the world's largest floating solar market, especially on rivers and dams.
While only 341 MW was under construction or operating in the region, capacity being lined up would allow it to reach 6.6 GW in 2025 and 16 GW in 2030, Rynstad said.
"I think we can capture an important, large slice of that 16 GW forecast by 2030 with offshore floating solar farms," Stilwell said, explaining that the seas in Southeast Asia are much calmer than in other regions and its many islands protect the parks from swell.
EDP recently launched Europe's largest floating solar park on a dam in southern Portugal.
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; editing by Andrei Khalip and Jason Neely)