Aquatic Photovoltaic Facility for Catalina Island

Document Type



Engineering (HMC)

Publication Date



A feasibility study, design, and cost estimate have been completed for a 1 MWe photovoltaic (PV) facility which would float on an inland reservoir at Catalina Island. If built, this would be one of the largest PV operating facilities to date and also the first floating PV system. The modular installation consists of 250 floating platforms, each supporting 430 ft2 of flat panel PV cells. Three tracking systems were considered; a two-axis tracking, a one-axis tracking, and a non-tracking system. The non-tracking and one-axis tracking systems were carried through the final design stage. The one-axis system was most cost effective. The total cost of the one-axis tracking system is about $4.0 million; the cost of the non-tracking system is about $3.7 million. The levelized energy costs for the two systems are about $0.37/kWh and $0.42/kWh respectively. This facility would provide 25% of Catalina's yearly peak energy demand; reducing the amount of diesel fuel used for power production. The aquatic environment provided difficult and unusual design criteria.

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