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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