Floating PV plant at California water treatment facility


From pv magazine USA

White Pine Renewables has completed a floating solar array in northern California that the company claims is the largest such project in the United States.

The 4.8 MW Healdsburg Floating Solar Project was installed on ponds at a wastewater treatment plant in Healdsburg, California. It will deliver energy to the city under under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

The company chose the project site and floating PV approach to help reduce evaporation and algae growth at the ponds. The electricity will cover around 8% of the city’s total energy demand and move it toward its goal of 60% renewable energy usage before 2030.

Noria Energy co-developed the project with White Pine and provided installation services. The behind-the-meter project’s entire installation, from procurement to commissioning, was completed in less than six months.

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Bragging rights

The Healdsburg Floating Solar Project can apparently claim the title as largest floating solar project in the United States. The previous claimant was a 4.4. MW floating array in Sayreville, New Jersey, installed by Ciel & Terre USA. That project, just outside of New York City, is also sited on a pond at a municipal water treatment facility.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) has pegged floating solar as a “rapidly emerging technology.” It has also outlined the technology’s potential to produce just under 10% of current electricity generation. In addition, the technology offers generally higher energy production, due to the cooling effects of water and wind.

According to Stetson Tchividjian, director of business development at floating PV developer D3Energy, the adoption of floating solar could rise as it reaches price parity with land-based PV. Tchividjian also noted that floating solar has lower operational and management costs, as well as no land costs.

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