Shanghai headquartered, Chinese PV developer Solar Power Inc recently announced a partnership with startup Aqua Clean Energy to develop floating PV projects across the US and Mexico.
As per the press release, a combined capacity of 50 MW floating PV projects will be built, spread across the states of California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico in the US, and in Mexico. These systems will be installed on large bodies of water such as quarry lakes, reservoirs, irrigation canals, and remediation and tailing ponds, which will be identified in due course.
Solar Power Inc (SPI) says that the materials and systems used in the development of the floating platform will be composed entirely of recyclable materials and will have low environmental impact.
Floating PV has a potential not only to generate solar power but to also conserve water, something of prime importance in Southwestern US, and California in particular, which is now experiencing its fourth consecutive year of drought.
Among the projects announced till now, the largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the US is under development in California. The 15 MW installation is being developed by Pristine Solar over 6 wastewater ponds in Sonoma County.
Floating PV systems have been gaining a lot of traction across several solar markets, those in the foray include Australia, India, Japan, Korea, and the US, among others.
Japan especially, where suitable land is a scarce resource, is expected to become the leader in floating solar PV installations. Kyocera has announced a 13.4 MW floating solar power plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Once the project is commissioned (scheduled for March 2016), it will be the world’s largest floating PV plant.
The US installed over 6 GW of PV during 2014, rallied by a stable utility scale demand, and strong growth in its residential sector.
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