With a strong desire to reduce both energy costs and the town’s carbon footprint, Sayreville, N.J., issued a public RFP in late 2015 calling for developers to provide bids for a solar installation under a power purchase agreement (PPA) to offset power use at the water treatment facility and related Borough facilities such as Borough Hall and the Public Works Building. Due to a lack of available land, this proved to be an ideal opportunity to propose a floating solar power system for the nearby pre-treatment pond.
Ciel & Terre USA, in conjunction with Solar Renewable Energy and RETTEW have completed the 4.4. MWp floating solar array on a pre-treatment water storage pond in Sayreville, N.J., which is also the largest floating solar array installed in North America to date.
The floating solar system will supply approximately 5,000,000 kWh of solar electricity annually, representing 100% of Sayreville’s energy requirements for its water treatment plant.
“We entered into this project knowing that we had limited land available for a solar installation near the water treatment plant, and the opportunity for a floating solar array has exceeded our expectations,” said Dan Frankel, Business Administrator of the Town of Sayreville. “It’s an ideal approach that makes better use of our pre-treatment pond while dramatically reducing energy costs and offsetting the town’s carbon footprint.”
The Sayreville floating solar system is the first floating array to be deployed in New Jersey, and currently the largest floating array in North America. Implemented by local developers J&J Solar Power LLC, Solar Renewable Energy LLC and with engineering by RETTEW, the Sayreville solar installation will serve as a model for future large-scale floating solar arrays demonstrating the potential ROI of using floating solar as a reliable source of discounted renewable energy anywhere in the United States, including in northern states where solar adoption has been slower.
“This is the first large-scale project of its kind in the state of New Jersey and will serve as an ideal showcase of the potential and unique benefits of floating solar,” said Jason Wert of RETTEW. “We expect Sayreville will see immediate and ongoing benefits from this project, starting in the first month.”
This latest project demonstrates the value and performance of floating solar in the US. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) estimates that floating solar systems could meet 10 percent of the United States electricity needs. Using manmade bodies of water to host floating solar systems provides more efficient energy production due to the cooling effect of the water on the solar panels, while eliminating the need to use expensive real estate. The floating array also reduces water movement to minimize erosion and reduces evaporation.
“As North American developers, financiers and insurance entities strengthen their comfort with the advantages of floating solar, we expect to see significant rapid growth in the region that parallels the rest of the world.” Says Chris Bartle of Ciel & Terre USA.
— Solar Builder magazine