Updated October 31, 2023
NEW JERSEY – New Jersey Resources Clean Energy Ventures (NJRCEV) has taken a significant step forward in the world of solar energy by unveiling the largest floating solar array in North America. Situated on the Canoe Brook reservoir in Short Hills, New Jersey, this innovative 8.9 megawatt solar installation boasts 16,510 solar panels covering 17 acres. Operated by NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of NJR, the floating solar array utilizes a cutting-edge racking system, enabling the panels to float on water—a novel solution that addresses the challenge of finding appropriate spaces for large-scale solar projects.
Floating solar technology opens up fresh opportunities for harnessing the power of the sun in previously underutilized bodies of water. It transforms idle spaces into hubs for large-scale renewable energy generation. Robert Pohlman, the Vice President of NJRCEV, highlighted the significance of this project, stating,
"Floating solar technology creates new opportunities for underutilized bodies of water, allowing space that would otherwise sit vacant to enable large-scale renewable energy generation, which helps to bring the benefits of clean energy to even more customers."
These floating solar initiatives, like the one at Canoe Brook, play a vital role in densely populated regions such as New Jersey. They serve as an essential part of the state's efforts to become more environmentally responsible and reduce carbon emissions. Mark McDonough, President of New Jersey American Water, emphasized the importance of environmental stewardship, saying,
"As the state’s largest water and wastewater utility company, it is essential for us to be good stewards of the environment by operating efficiently and in a manner that helps protect our natural resources."
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The Canoe Brook solar facility began its full commercial operation in January 2023. In addition to providing a sustainable source of clean energy, this array offers several additional benefits. The solar power generated by this installation is equivalent to removing a remarkable 8,121 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere when compared to traditional power sources. Furthermore, floating solar panels contribute to reducing evaporation, which, in turn, safeguards the water source and benefits the surrounding environment.
NJR Clean Energy Ventures has been at the forefront of solar investment since 2009, having poured over $1 billion into commercial and residential solar projects. As one of the leading solar owner/operators in the state, NJR Clean Energy Ventures currently manages 65 commercial solar assets across four states, boasting a portfolio with an installed capacity exceeding 440 megawatts.
Canoe Brook represents the second floating solar project in CEV's portfolio, with the first floating solar project being a 4.4 megawatt array located in Sayreville, New Jersey, which commenced commercial operation in 2020.