Michigan’s first floating PV project is expected to deploy in Plainfield Township, after the township board approved a plan to install a solar array on a reservoir. The reservoir was built on a retrofitted gravel pit near the township’s water treatment plant.
The project is being headed by White Pine Renewables a company with a national presence in floating PV development. According to representatives from White Pine, the project will come in at a capacity just around 1 MW. White Pine said it was not always certain that the project would be floating.
“When siting projects, we simply choose the best technology for the project,” White Pine CEO, Evan Riley, told pv magazine USA. “We didn’t go into this project thinking “How do we put a floating solar project here?”, rather we approached this project like we do all projects with the question, “How can we apply clean technology to help save our customer money and help them achieve their environmental goals?”’
According to Riley, the decision to develop a floating solar project with a power purchase agreement came after a site visit and over a year of due diligence and design. Riley said the floating project was selected as the best technical and financial solution, and is one that also helps the township achieve their environmental goals while minimizing land use impact.
Riley also shared that White Pine is currently evaluating options for suppliers of the solar modules and floatation docks and solar modules.
In March White Pine completed a floating solar array in northern California, the 4.8 MW Healdsburg Floating Solar Project, which is among the largest in the country. The photovoltaic-generated electricity will cover around 8% of the city’s total energy demand, moving it toward a goal of 60% renewable energy usage before 2030.
Noria Energy co-developed the project with White Pine and provided installation services. The behind-the-meter project’s entire installation, from procurement to commissioning, was completed in less than six months.