Plymouth - Set aside the idea that electricity and water won’t mix. Since mid-December Plymouth Solar Energy has been monitoring the first floating solar energy system installed in Massachusetts. Fred Paris of Plymouth Solar Energy said that, “with a full weather station and video surveillance, the prototype system was installed to measure and record the effect of a Massachusetts winter on a floating solar array”. “We did not intend to wire it to test electricity”, said Paris, “but to test the resiliency on a Massachusetts reservoir over the entire winter. We watched at times when the entire system was frozen in place, and then a thaw, and then high winds and then snow, and then three nice winter storms to complete the test.”
The components of the system include floats, walkways and physical and electrical attributes that support a speedy installation. In Massachusetts, there are very specific DEP guidelines for floating solar, and the new Massachusetts’ solar incentive program ‘SMART’, also offers a financial-adder for floating solar arrays. Finally, the reports from the environmentalists are favorable. The floats are certified ‘drinking water safe’ and, when a solar system is deployed over water, there is less evaporation, less weed and algae growth, and more fish. Clearly this is a unique market said Paris, For wineries, and other agricultural businesses with their adjacent reservoirs, solar can be deployed without using valuable crop land.
Ciel Et Terre USA, Inc. manufactures the patented floating structure.