Floating solar is a new concept and one that could assist in getting solar power to many. In 2018, U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) labeled floating solar as a “rapidly emerging technology,” with a corresponding report outlining the potential of the technology to reach 9.6% of current electricity generation.
Ciel & Terre USA has installed a 4.4. MW floating solar array in Sayreville, New Jersey, which the company claims is the largest floating solar array in North America.
The project, proposed in 2015, was a part of a government initiative to implement solar at the city’s power treatment plant and other government buildings and facilities.
The installation is the second floating solar project completed in New Jersey. The project was constructed and developed by local developers J&J Solar Power LLC, Solar Renewable Energy LLC and with engineering by RETTEW Associates.
Floating solar initially tool off mostly in Japan. The NREL report stated that of the 200 MW installed globally by 2017, 80% of that capacity came from Japan. In terms of what that 9.6% of current generation figure really means, that NREL estimation is equivalent to 2100 GW, also known as 2.1 Terrawatts (TW). A Terrawatt is equal to one trillion (1012) watts!
The methodology behind this estimation began with a dataset of all man-made reservoirs, with those used for recreation, navigation, fish and wildlife, those located more than 50 miles from a transmission line and small water bodies removed from the set. Of the remaining reservoirs, NREL assumed that 27% of the surface area could be covered with floating PV.
The successful implementation of floating solar is a huge step forward in renewable energy, both for the US and the world.
Source: PV Magazine