Five reservoirs in Puerto Rico could hold 596 MW of floating solar power – pv storage USA

Potential solar power locations in Puerto Rico include reservoirs, brownfields, closed landfills, post-closure fossil fuel plants and transmission rights, according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimated that five reservoirs in Puerto Rico could hold 596 MW of floating solar power, although costs would be about 25% higher than for terrestrial solar power. NREL published its analysis in a report and technical appendix.

As NREL said, the analysis arose from concerns that “Puerto Rico’s commitment to achieving 100% clean energy by 2050 will require identifying suitable locations for next-generation projects.”

The study concludes that an additional 190 MW of “economically viable” solar projects could be implemented at seven sites designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “Superfund” sites. For six sites, analysts assessed “how much grant money would be needed” to achieve economic goals for solar projects under municipally and third-party-owned models.

Photo: Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Compared to these estimates, both in the hundreds of megawatts, according to NREL’s “PR 100” summary report released earlier this year, Puerto Rico has the potential to generate tens of gigawatts in both rooftop and ground-mounted solar installations.

The report estimated that, across all residential buildings, Puerto Rico has the “technical potential” for 20.4 GW-dc of rooftop solar installations. The analysis of technical potential does not take into account the financial profitability of projects. Last October, 680 MW of rooftop solar power was installed across the United States.

Puerto Rico’s technical potential for utility-scale solar PV ranges from 14.2 GW in the “less land” scenario to 44.7 GW in the “more land” scenario, according to the PR 100 summary report.

In both scenarios, the modeled utility-scale solar PV development was “limited” to roads, water bodies, protected habitats, flood-prone areas, slopes greater than 10%, and agricultural reserves. However, in the “less land” scenario, solar energy use was also limited to areas identified for agricultural purposes in the Puerto Rico Planning Commission’s 2015 land-use plan.

The new NREL analysis also estimated the technical potential of 1-2.5 GW of solar energy in 160 contaminated sites, a total of 636 MW of floating solar energy in 55 reservoirs, 213 MW of solar energy in 41 closed landfills, 78 MW of solar energy in two fossil fuel power plants after their closure, and 21-50 MW of solar power on right-of-way transmission lines.

NREL’s new analysis adopts methodology from EPA’s decision tree tool titled “RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative.”

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