Largest North American Floating Solar Array Completed

The lack of available land in Sayreville, N.J., led to the Hydrelio photovoltaic system's selection.
Sayreville, N.J. floating solar system. Image courtesy of Ciel & Terre USA

Ciel & Terre USA has completed a 4.4-megawatt floating solar array in Sayreville, N.J. The facility is the first floating array in the state and the largest project of its kind in North America. 

The floating solar system will supply approximately 5,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to cover the town’s total energy requirements for its water treatment plan. The implementation team included local developer J&J Solar Power and Solar Renewable Energy, with engineering services provided by RETTEW Associates.

The town of Sayreville launched a public request for proposals at the end of 2015, seeking developers via a power-purchase agreement as a way of offsetting energy consumption at the water treatment facility. The town’s lack of available land made the Hydrelio floating photovoltaic system the ideal solution.

While floating solar is not new, traditional photovoltaic has generally taken the spotlight. The first commercial installation in the U.S. was a 175-kilowatt-hour system installed in 2008 at the Far Niente Winery in California, placed atop a water reservoir to avoid occupying land intended for vineyards. In recent years, this technology has begun gaining traction, its capacity increasing to 1.1 gigawatts globally in mid-2018, as reported by the World Bank.