A water treatment plant in New Jersey has gone solar with an unusual floating array of solar panels. Because the water treatment facility is located on a protected site there was very little land available for construction. Floating the solar panels on the reservoir was the best way to add solar power to the facility.
According to New Jersey American Water, the installation at the Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant is the first solar array on a body of water designed to withstand a freeze/thaw environment. The installation comprises 538 modules on a floating structure that is designed to rise and fall with the water levels in the reservoir.
The panels are expected to provide about 2 percent of the plant's energy needs, resulting in about $16,000 in energy cost savings annually. The company press release notes that this is part of a $1.35 million dollar pilot project undertaken by the utility. That may not be cost effective even in the lifetime of the solar panels. But perhaps the infrastructure investment will help pay off in other long-term benefits.