Category: C&I Generation
Land owners and plant operators concerned with the escalating cost of electricity and carbon dioxide emissions have found an innovative alternative: placing floating solar panels, also known as “flotovoltaics,” on man-made bodies of water to create power. Where land or rooftop space is limited and, in some cases, not available at all, floating pv systems are especially attractive. In arid regions, they are also beneficial in helping to reduce evaporation and minimize algae growth.
While there are approximately 100 completed projects in the world so far, only seven are located in the U.S. How, then, do we increase interest from the public to consider these types of projects? One important key is to prove that this innovative technology is commercially viable and economical. Accordingly, Lake County Special District in Northern California, in collaboration with EPC North Coast Solar, requested a 252-kilowatt (kWp) floating solar system design by Ciel et Terre USA for its Kelseyville Waterworks District #3 Wastewater Treatment Plant.
This case study demonstrated the feasibility and bankability of a floating solar system not only for a waste water treatment plant but also for other types of man-made water bodies including irrigation reservoirs, remediation and tailing ponds, and agricultural irrigation or retention ponds. It offset rising cost of electricity from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), converted an unused water body surface into a renewable energy producing island, required no initial investment thanks to a municipal lease, and unexpectedly yielded environmental benefits. The Kelseyville project has proven to Lake County that floating solar systems work and indeed offer benefits beyond more efficient power generation.
Chris Bartle– Business Development Manager, Ciel et Terre USA, INC.