Floating Solar No Longer ‘an Exotic Niche’ in the US

floating solar facility
An example of a floating solar facility.

The company responsible for the technology that allows solar arrays to float on water and produce energy, Ciel & Tierre, announced that it has completed two new projects in the United States and that it has a pipeline of many more to come.

A municipal floating solar project in Walden, Colorado, and a private floating solar project in Dixon, California, are producing solar power to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Other larger projects are under construction and planned in the U.S., according to the company.

The $400,000, 75-kW Colorado array is the result of the town of Walden’s performance contract with Johnson Controls, which was also supported by Colorado Energy Office, Department of Local Affairs, and GRID Alternatives. The town expects to save approximately $10,000 annually on energy costs.

“We were excited to be a part of Colorado’s first floating solar installation,” said Jake Bobrow, Project Manager for GRID Alternatives.

In Dixon, California, Salad Cosmo, a family-owned bean sprout producer installed its system as part of its environmental commitment, which includes using recyclable packaging, composting waste products for use in the fields, and irrigating with waste water. Salad Cosmo wanted a sustainable energy solution for energy production and hired Sky Power Solar of San Ramon, California, to install the system using Ciel & Terre’s floating photovoltaic technology.

Deploying a floating solar array on manmade bodies of water improves energy production by keeping the solar system cooler. At the same time, it reduces evaporation, controls algae growth, and reduces water movement to minimize bank erosion, according to Ciel & Tierre.

“These two installations demonstrate that floating solar has become a compelling energy solution for both municipal water treatment and private industry anywhere in the U.S.,” said Eva Pauly-Bowles, Representative Director for Ciel & Terre USA, Inc.

“Floating solar is no longer an exotic niche in the U.S., but a rapidly growing sector of the solar market,” she added.

Orlando Utilities Commission, the host utility for the upcoming POWER-GEN International, has a floating solar array as part of its system. Meet representatives from OUC at the event, which takes place December 4-6.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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