New Zealand’s First Floating Solar Project

The current population of the country of New Zealand is approximately 4.79 million people. In 2018, the state utility used renewable energy (82%), natural gas (14%) and coal (4%) to generate electricity in the country. Hydropower, geothermal, wind and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Energy Strategy (2011 – 2021) established the strategic direction for the country’s energy sector and role energy will play in the economy. The priorities of the strategy are to develop diverse resources, be environmentally responsible, be energy efficiency and develop secure/affordable energy.

New Zealand’s pursuit of a diverse range of resources now includes a floating solar array on a water treatment pond in Auckland. Electric utility, Vector Limited and water utility, Watercare will collaborate to deploy New Zealand’s first floating solar array.

The floating array will have over 2,700 solar photovoltaic panels and 3000 floating pontoons. The electricity from the floating array will be used for pumping and aeration for natural bacteria that help break down the waste as part of the treatment process.

Vector Limited is the largest electricity and natural gas utility in New Zealand and is headquartered in Auckland. Watercare is New Zealand’s largest utility and is headquartered in Auckland. Watercare provides water and wastewater services to 1.4 million people on the North Island.

Floating solar is a relatively new form of renewable energy. In the People’s Republic of China has installed a massive floating solar system in the city of Huainan. In the United States floating solar has been primarily used on relatively small wastewater and water treatment facilities. However, the Researchers from the Nation Renewable Energy Lab estimate that floating solar arrays could provide up to 10% of America’s power requirements.

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