In 1989 the Balbina, hydroelectric, dam had been constructed and became one of the worst environmental disasters after it flooded 2,400 square km (930 square miles) of the Amazon rain forest. Now in an attempt to fix the problem Brazilian engineers have developed floating solar panels to be placed on top of the flooded rain forest.

The Brazilian government plans to install 50,000 square meters (540,000 square feet) of solar panels by 2017. They are estimated to generate up to 5 megawatts of power, which should be able to power around 9,000 homes. Currently the Balbina dam generates a maximum of 250 megawatts, not to mention that recently water levels on many Brazilian dams have dropped significantly. They are working with Sunlution, which creates innovative solar technology, and Ciel et Terre, which finds different solutions to installing solar panels, to install the panels.

Engineers hope to increase power to 300 megawatts, which could power 540,000 homes, essentially dwarfing hydroelectric power dams. Interestingly Sunlution and French firm Ciel et Terre are going to also transform the hydroelectric power generators, of which there are 5, into unlimited power producers by accessing solar energy.

If this project is successful it could help fix Brazil’s problem and create significant gains for the future.