Floating Solar Panels Project

Project Description

The proposed floating solar project at Sweetwater Reservoir aims to reduce Sweetwater Authority’s electricity consumption by approximately 66% of its total energy costs, yielding an estimated annual benefit of around $500,000. The exact benefit is dependent on the SDG&E rate increase in the upcoming years. 

This initiative is in line with the Authority's Strategic Plan objective to identify strategies to achieve carbon neutrality, and supports state and federal clean energy goals. 

The Authority's mission is to provide safe, reliable water that meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water health standards. The proposed floating solar panel project will require approval by the State of California's Division of Drinking Water, which verifies and provides permits for projects that impact drinking water reservoirs to ensure water quality and safety.

Draft reference map of potential location of floating solar panels on Sweetwater Reservoir

Project Costs

  • Environmental Technical Studies - $72,000
  • SDG&E Interconnection Study - $3,300

System Metrics

  • Based on a 3.7 MWac System
  • Area Required 9.5 Acres
  • Reservoir Coverage 1.3%
Sweetwater Authority Estimated Annual Usage14.1 GWh/year
Estimated Sweetwater Authority Energy Bill 2022$2.9 million
Floating Solar Year 1 Energy Production9.21 GWh/year
PPA Rate for 3.7 MWac System$0.0955/kWh
Approximate Sweetwater Authority Year 1 Savings$500,000
Estimate Cumulative Savings$15-28 million
Lifetime CO2 Saved52,324 MT

Project Status

As of April 2024, the project is in the technical and environmental document preparation phase. Authority staff and consultants are currently conducting the technical studies to inform a CEQA compliant initial study, which is anticipated to be completed by June 2024. Authority staff and consultants have been working with SDG&E to conduct an interconnection study, which was completed March 2024.

Additional Information

Governing Board

Community Advisory Work Group (CAWG)

Other Resources

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