New Zealand: The country’s largest solar power plant is floating

New Zealand: The country’s largest solar power plant is floating

In New Zealand, Vector Powersmart has just completed construction of the largest solar power plant in the country. This one has a power of only 1 megawatt but has the peculiarity of floating. an offer.

2,700 floating solar panels

The photovoltaic plant completed by Vector Powersmart spans approximately one hectare in the Rosedale wastewater treatment basin in Auckland (North New Zealand). It consists of 2,700 solar panels arrayed atop nearly 4,000 perched birds. The installation was built in just 4 months and attached to the bottom with about 60 concrete anchors, each weighing approximately 2.5 tons.

According to the operator’s projections, this floating solar power plant should be able to produce approximately 1,486 megawatt-hours per year (which corresponds to a load factor of approximately 17%), equivalent to about a quarter of the electricity needs of the wastewater treatment plant. Run by Watercare (or the average annual electricity consumption of 200 New Zealand households according to the authorities).

It should be noted that the electricity produced by this installation should be more specifically intended for “ Pumping and aeration functions that help natural bacteria break down waste in the treatment process According to Watercare, nearly all of Rosedale’s other energy needs are met by biogas, a co-product of the wastewater treatment process.(1). The cost of the floating solar power plant will be amortized over its expected life (25 to 30 years), as confirmed by the project leaders.

Almost 10% of national electricity production in 2050?

Floating solar installations like the one at Rosedale popular abroad But this is the first time in New Zealand, welcoming Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. According to him, the new plant should reduce 145 tons of carbon dioxide2 domestic greenhouse gas emissions annually.

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Solar power is currently very far behind in New Zealand, as this country has a much smaller surface area and less favorable sunshine conditions than its Australian neighbour. However, a growing number of photovoltaic projects are under development in the country: Rosedale’s floating installation should also cede its place as New Zealand’s largest solar power plant to another 1.6 MW site in the process of building on the roof of a supermarket near Auckland airport (to be Developing another 10 MW solar power project by Vector Powersmart(2)).

According to the forecasts of network operator Transpower(3)Solar power could account for 9.3% of New Zealand’s electricity production in 2050 (compared to about 0.2% in 2020), making it the fourth renewable sector producing electricity after hydropower (24.8% in 2050 according to Transpower’s forecasts), and wind power ( 19.6%) and geothermal energy (12.5%).

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