Floating Solar Comes to California

March 12, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

Sonoma Clean Power in California hired Pristine Sun to install a 12.5 MW solar farm on floating docks atop treated sewage holding ponds operated by the Sonoma County Water Agency, reports The Press Democrat.

Pristine Sun will finance and build the project and lease the six ponds from the Water Agency for about $30,000 per year. The Water Agency has its own solar installations and will not use power generated from the project

One reason for building a solar installation over water is the high premium for agricultural land in Sonoma County.

The floating solar technology is gaining popularity in Japan and India. The largest floating solar installation in the world, in terms of output, is being developed on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japan.

The Sonoma floating solar project is slated to be complete in 2016. Sonoma Clean Power operates as the default power provider for most of the electricity customers in Sonoma county. Customers have the ability to opt out and switch back to PG&E, which still delivers the power and maintains the grid, reports The Press Democrat.

2 comments on “Floating Solar Comes to California

  1. It’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So Floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created in South Korea. The Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when Floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water. Recently, this Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring Systems have been used in South Korea. You can see the Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System in Ochang Dam, South Korea. INIWORLD

  2. My understanding is that Sonoma Clean Power did not “hire” Pristine Sun to build these arrays. The Sonoma County Water Agency facilitated discussions between multiple “bidders” to lease their pond surface area for specific use for floating solar arrays with the power generated sold to Sonoma Clean Power under a Power Purchase Agreement. I believe such an agreement has been executed, but the onus is on Pristine Sun to get the projects built and begin delivering power by the end of 2016.

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