NJR Clean Energy Ventures, New Jersey American Water Pioneer Renewable Energy Innovation
New Jersey, a state renowned for its many inventions, is now home to an unprecedented innovation – North America’s largest floating solar array. Situated on the Canoe Brook reservoir, the 8.9-megawatt solar behemoth is comprised of 16,510 solar panels, spanning 17 acres and provides enough clean energy to power 1,400 homes annually.
Enabling clean energy from underutilized waterspaces
The floating solar array is owned and operated by NJR Clean Energy Ventures (CEV), a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources. Harnessing a cutting-edge racking system, the array floats on water, turning underutilized bodies of water into powerhouses of clean energy. The solar array is an innovative and practical response to the challenge of finding ample space for commercial solar installations, particularly in densely populated regions like New Jersey.
Increasing power efficiency, reducing environmental impact
The solar array not only helps meet the power needs of New Jersey American Water’s Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant but also offers significant environmental benefits. The electricity generated by the solar power system equals the removal of 8,121 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional power sources. Moreover, the floating solar panels help to reduce evaporation, thus protecting the water source and benefiting the environment.
“Operational efficiency that protects our natural resources is essential,” notes Mark McDonough, president of New Jersey American Water.
Investing in the future of renewable energy
Since 2009, CEV has invested over $1 billion in commercial and residential solar projects. Today, it maintains 65 commercial solar assets across four states and a portfolio of more than 440 MW of installed capacity. Canoe Brook is the second floating solar project in CEV’s portfolio, with the first being a 4.4 MW array located in Sayreville, New Jersey, operational since 2020.
Commissioner Mary-Anna Holden of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities expresses pride in this groundbreaking initiative. “The largest floating solar facility in North America underscores our efforts towards a diverse, clean, energy future,” she declares.
Benchmark for future innovations
This solar facility does more than supply power to a water treatment plant; it sets a benchmark for future innovations. As climate change continues to impact the world, such initiatives are pivotal to developing a sustainable energy infrastructure that also conserves precious natural resources. As innovative technologies continue to emerge, it becomes clearer that solutions for a sustainable future may well lie in repurposing the underutilized spaces around us.