floating solar
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Auckland’s electricity and water utility companies have announced a project to build New Zealand’s largest solar array in the heart of Auckland’s North Shore, by floating it on top of the Rosedale wastewater treatment pond near the Northern Motorway.

Electricity and water providers Vector Group and Watercare will collaborate to deploy the array. It will be used to supplement electricity from the grid, as well as cogeneration from biogas, which is already generated on-site from wastewater treatment.

The electricity is used for pumping and aeration for natural bacteria that help break down the waste as part of the treatment process.

The project, which will have more than 2,700 solar panels (Vector Lights has 248) and 3,000 floating pontoons, is being funded and hosted by Watercare and delivered by Vector PowerSmart.

Watercare has an ambitious programme to reduce its energy use by 8GWh by 2022 and to achieve energy self-sufficiency at its Mangere and Rosedale wastewater treatment plants by 2025. Solar installations such as this one will help Watercare achieve its targets.

Vector Group CEO Simon Mackenzie and Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said the system, would mark a number of firsts for New Zealand.

Largest floating solar for New Zealand

“It’s the first time floating solar will be seen in New Zealand and the first megawatt-scale solar project to be confirmed,” said Mackenzie.

“It can generate enough power over a year to run the equivalent of 200 average New Zealand homes for a year,” he added.

“Even larger systems are already common overseas and with reports out of Australia of costs as low as 4-5c per kWh, when that scale arrives here we’ll see solar’s real potential to set a new cap on the wholesale market which over the past few days has been around double that”.

“Vector PowerSmart’s capability to design and deliver this innovative system shows how new energy solutions are key to helping business reach their economic and environmental goals, and we’re proud to be working with Watercare to help it achieve both”.

Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said, “The project is a fantastic example of how utilities can work together for the benefit of their communities”.

“As a large user of energy, it’s important that we look at ways of reducing our environmental footprint and becoming more self-sufficient.  Innovative solutions like this on top of wastewater ponds are a smart way to reduce operational costs”.

Source: This article was originally published by our sister site Renewable Energy World.