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Sonoma Clean Power Contracts to Build Largest US Floating Solar Project


Sonoma Clean Power Contracts to Build Largest US Floating Solar Project

Innovative Project will add up to 12.5 MW of Sonoma County Solar

Less than a year into providing default electricity service to residents and businesses in Sonoma County, Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) has contracted with Pristine Sun to build up to 12.5 megawatts (MW) of new solar power in Sonoma County. The venture represents the largest floating solar project in the United States, and the second largest in the world.

"This project is groundbreaking because it will be located on irrigation water storage ponds, protecting Sonoma County farmland while reducing our dependence on fossil fuel,” said SCP Board Chair, Mark Landman.

“Sonoma Clean Power is leading the way in advancing floating solar technology, and we are proud to partner with them to bring this project to fruition,” said Troy Helming, CEO of Pristine Sun. “This technology offers potential energy production, savings, and job creation for municipalities across the country.”

The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) identified the potential for floating solar panels on ponds that store fully treated wastewater. Recognizing the many benefits of floating solar systems, such as minimizing aesthetic impact and preserving land, the Water Agency brought the idea to Sonoma Clean Power as a method for building local renewable energy at a scale that keeps costs competitive with power from fossil fuels. The Water Agency then took steps to solicit developers and eventually leased the project sites to Pristine Sun, a solar developer based in San Francisco.

The Water Agency’s Board Chair, Supervisor Susan Gorin said, “This project creates local jobs and helps reduce emissions for all of Sonoma Clean Power’s customers, demonstrating the Water Agency’s commitment to our Energy Policy and energy projects of regional benefit.”

The systems will be installed on six different storage ponds, two in northwest Santa Rosa and four in the Sonoma Valley. Development is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, and will supply enough power for 3,000 homes at completion. The Water Agency has identified additional potential sites for floating solar at local wineries and is planning to assist local vintners in developing smaller scale projects.

“Floating solar systems are still very new, with only a few large-scale systems around the world. This project furthers our goals of developing more renewable energy in Sonoma County,” said SCP CEO Geof Syphers.

Because of the innovative location for the system, extra steps were taken to ensure that SCP customers are protected against any risks. Agency CEO Geof Syphers worked with leading industry attorneys to make sure that the risks for non-performance lie with the developer and not with the agency’s customers.

“This is just the kind of project those involved in the formation of SCP knew would be possible with a locally run electricity provider,” said Water Agency Deputy Chief Engineer Cordel Stillman.

Sonoma Clean Power is a not-for-profit pubic agency providing cleaner electricity to residential and commercial customers in all Sonoma County cities (with the exception of Healdsburg who has their own municipal utility) and the unincorporated areas of the county.

Pristine Sun is an independent power producer and leading developer of small utility-scale PV power plants in America.

For more information, visit or call 1 (855) 202-2139.