Floating Solar Arrays an Emerging Technology in U.S.

Water treatment plant in Utah planning array for its operations.   September 14, 2023

By Dave Lubach, Executive Editor

When facilities consider converting their institutional and commercial facilities to solar power, building owners and owners have a variety of options on how to deploy the arrays. 

Solar panels can be located on large, vacated plots of land, rooftops, parking structures and as in an emerging trend, floating on bodies of water. 

The website pv-magazine.com predicts that the global floating PV (FPV) market will triple in growth by 2026 to 4.8 gigawatts. For comparison’s sake, the article indicated that a 1-megawatt FPV plant covers water bodies of about 17 acres to 25 acres and can generate electricity of 1,500 MWh according to Global Industry Analysts.  

In the U.S., that means a number of opportunities to take advantage of the technology. According to GIA a, the U.S. has more than 24,000 water bodies suitable for FPV arrays. 

One example of an FPV in the works is planned for Utah, where Mountain Regional Water’s water treatment plant is planning to install a floating solar array at its facility. The website reported construction is planned for June 2024 and beginning operations the following September. 

The array is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 384 metric tons a year. 

Dave Lubach is the executive editor for the facility market. 


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