EVALUATING POTENTIAL FOR FLOATING SOLAR INSTALLATIONS ON ARIZONA WATER MANAGEMENT INFRASTRUCTURE
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractThis capstone project evaluates the current state of floating solar photovoltaic technology and proposes use of the technology on water management infrastructure in Arizona. The study finds that floating solar photovoltaic has a higher energy density (100 W/m2) than land-based, utility-scale solar and does not involve significant cost increases. The study proposes and models a small pilot installation on Lake Pleasant Reservoir, part of the Central Arizona Project, and finds that lifetime costs per unit energy are higher than what the Central Arizona Project currently pays for energy, assuming US median per-wattinstalled costs for commercial solar. This cost however does not factor in savings from water conservation, existing infrastructure, reduced land costs, or other benefits. The study recommends water reservoirs by hydropower dams as ideal locations for floating photovoltaic installations. Justified with a significant background on Arizona’s environmental, social, and economic sustainability, as well as regulations calling for increased renewable energy generation and reduced carbon emissions, this study recommends aggressive implementation of floating solar photovoltaic technology within a sustainable development paradigm.