Floating solar is one of the latest innovations in the renewable energy sector, and floating solar farms are becoming increasingly common across the United States and beyond. Innovative solutions will be necessary to meet the climate targets mandated across the country, and floating solar farms could play an important role in achieving these goals. Often known as ‘floatovoltaics’, floating solar projects offer the same advantages as land-based projects, while also bringing their own unique benefits to the table. We’ve recently covered the biggest floating solar farms in the world, but now it’s time to venture closer to home as we take a look at the biggest floating solar farms in the United States in 2022.
What are the 3 Largest Floating Solar Farms in the United States in 2022?
With a strong showing from California—a nationwide solar leader—and an impressive entry from New Jersey, the following is a list of the 3 largest floating solar farms in the United States in 2022.
#1. Healdsburg Floating Solar Farm, California - 4.8 MW
The largest floating solar farm in the United States is located in California, sitting on two ponds at Healdsburg’s wastewater treatment plant. Occupying roughly half of the combined 15 acres of the two ponds, the installation consists of 11,600 solar panels with a capacity of 4.8 MW—enough to provide 8% of Healdsburg’s annual electricity requirements. Additionally, the panels serve as a protective barrier for the water below, reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation and preventing the growth of algae beneath. The panels used in the installation are double-sided, capturing sunlight as it falls directly on top of them and as it reflects up from the water below. With a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in place, this floating solar farm will be providing electricity to the city for the foreseeable future. Following the completion of this project, 48% of the city’s electricity now comes from renewable sources, bringing Healdsburg closer to its goal of 60% renewably-generated energy by 2025.
#2. Sayreville Floating Solar Farm, New Jersey - 4.4 MW
A close second in our list of the largest floating solar farms in the United States is this floating PV project located on a retention pond in Sayreville, New Jersey. The 4.4 MW array was developed by engineering firm RETTEW alongside contractors Solar Renewable Energy (SRE) and J&J Solar, and provides 100% of the electricity needed to power Sayreville’s water treatment plant. Made up of HT-SAAE 345-W panels, Ciel & Terre Hydrelio floats and ABB inverters, the array has a sawtooth design which matches the shape of the retention pond while also keeping a suitable distance from the shore. As with other floating solar systems, the Sayreville floating solar farm benefits its environment by preventing the growth of algae beneath the panels and reducing water evaporation. Additionally, the cooling effect of the water helps the panels by lowering the temperature of the modules and increasing power production as a result.
#3. Windsor Floating Solar Farm, California - 1.8 MW
This 1.8 MW floating solar farm in Windsor, California became one of the biggest floating solar projects in the United States after going online in November 2020. The project, which is located on the town’s largest recycled water Pond 7, began construction in May 2019, a collaborative effort between local union contractor Collins Electrical Company and French floating solar specialists Ciel & Terre. The solar array consists of 4,959 panels which cover 21.23%—approximately 4 acres—of the water surface at the pond, and will provide power for the Windsor Wastewater Reclamation Facility, Public Works Corporation Yard, and the Geysers pump station. The town of Windsor will now receive discounted clean energy after entering into a 25-year lease and power purchase agreement (PPA) with Ciel & Terre. Furthermore, the design of the floating solar array allows for expansion if extra capacity is required and had no impact on the operations of the water reclamation facility while the installation was taking place.
What is Floating Solar?
The term floating solar, or ‘floatovoltaics’, refers to solar panel arrays which are installed on bodies of water like ponds, reservoirs, and lakes, rather than more conventional land-based PV projects. With the potential for even greater cost savings and more efficient energy generation, floating solar arrays are becoming a more common sight across the country. To learn more about floating solar and how it works, check out our most popular articles on the subject below:
Lease Your Property for a Floating Solar Project
YSG is seeking suitable locations to house floating solar projects across the country. If the location is viable, YSG will work with individuals, businesses, municipalities, and other entities to lease out properties for floating solar farms just like those highlighted in this article. At the moment, YSG is looking for sites in the states listed below. If you are located in any of these states and feel that you may have suitable property, on land or water, then you could be in an excellent position to generate passive income through a solar lease.
Incentives for Floating Solar
Certain states, such as Massachusetts, have already included provisions for floating solar incentives in their existing renewable energy programs, making them ideal locations for floating solar projects. The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program will pay solar system owners a base rate between 9 cents and 39 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and floating solar projects situated on a human-made body of water will receive an additional 3 cents per kWh on top of this base rate. Some states have already followed this example and added floating solar incentives to their own programs and, with floating solar becoming more popular, others are likely to follow suit. To find out if a floating solar project is financially viable in your state, get in touch with YSG. Call the office at 212.389.9215 or send us an email today.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.