Floating Solar Panels | NZ Floating Solar Farm


When we think solar farms, we think acres of farmland and dry sunny skies. New Zealand however has taken a different approach by producing one of their largest solar PV plants on top of Auckland’s North Shore wastewater treatment plant.

Floating Solar Pontoons & Rosedale Wastewater Treatment Pond

The Council-owned Rosedale wastewater pond hosts 2700 solar panels on 3000 floating pontoons. The solar energy produced from this floating array is estimated to supply around 25 percent of the treatment plant’s electricity.

Although this may not sound like a large percentage, waste treatment plants require an extortionate amount of electricity to run their energy-intensive pumping stations and aeration technology.

As mentioned by Rosedale’s chief Raveen Jaduram, “As a large user of energy, it’s important that we look at ways of reducing our environmental footprint and becoming more self-sufficient.”

By covering just 25 percent of the plant’s electricity costs the solar array will cut Rosedale’s energy use by 8GWh by 2022.

To put that into perspective, 8GWh worth of energy is roughly equal to:Floating Solar Panels- Floating Solar Farm

  • Running 880 million LED lights.
  • The power of 10.4 million horses
  • The power of 16,000 corvette ZO6s

Now that’s a lot of solar power!

The Future of Floating Solar

As the first-ever NZ floating solar array, the Rosedale project sets a precedent for solar innovation.

Vector Group’s CEO, Simon Mackenzie highlights the floating solar array as an “innovative system [that] shows how new energy solutions are key to helping business reach their economic and environmental goals, and we are proud to be working with [Rosedale Treatment Plant] to help achieve both.”

Although this is the first floating solar plant for New Zealand, Australia has dabbled in “floatovaltaic” solar farms before.

In 2018, a 100kW floating solar farm was completed on East Lismore’s sewage treatment plant in New South Wales.

As floating solar is still a relatively new concept to Australia, FloatPac is the first and only local manufacturer of floating solar equipment.

Rooftop Solar Panels | Solar Without The Sea Legs

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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