For those who find solar panels to be an eyesore, there are alternatives for rooftop or ground mount. This article covers “floatovoltaics” and how they are being used in Sonoma County, and around the world.
“Close to home, the residents of Sonoma County have formed a Community Choice Energy program similar to what the city of Davis and Yolo County recently decided to implement. Sonoma Clean Power is a not-for-profit agency that is, as will be the case with the Davis/Yolo County agency, a partnership with PG&E wherein the utility retains responsibility for transmitting and distributing electricity, billing customers, fixing outages, etc. SCP gets to decide how the electricity is produced and what customers will pay for it.
In general, Community Choice Energy programs set a goal to provide a greater percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources than is provided by the utility, and to do so at a rate that is “competitive” (the goal is “lower”) with the cost charged by the utility.
“Ugly” is one consideration for where to put, or not to put, PV systems in Sonoma County; the thinking being that flat land is covered with vineyards and few want to mar the incredible and beautiful views of the rolling hills. So, what to do?
SCP decided to float PV arrays on six wastewater treatment ponds that are not visible from adjacent roads. In addition to providing electricity to power the nearby wineries and homes, floating panels have other benefits. For one, by effectively shading the water from the sun, evaporation is reduced and less water needs to be provided or pumped for irrigation. The wineries like that.”
Per Capita Davis: ‘Floatovoltaics’ are catching on, By John Mott-Smith, The Davis Enterprise, July 20, 2016.