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Floating solar in the USA: the market is booming

3/10/23

In the USA, green energy is crucial because fossil fuel is the largest source of carbon emissions (87% ), whether for domestic or industrial use. In 2022, renewable energy stood at just 13% of energy sources. According to forecasts of the Annual Energy Outlook 2023 Reference case, renewable energy consumption in the USA will continue to increase through 2050. And floating solar energy will too. This technology saves land and slows evaporation while producing green energy, which entices American developers to such an extent that the floating solar market is booming.

Birth of Ciel & Terre USA

Floating solar roots are in France, where Bernard, Ciel & Terre’s founder and Alexis, CEO, trailblazed the solar market with floating solar.

To read more about Ciel & Terre’s history, read the article:

Those roots grew first in Asia around 2013 where the geographic and political contexts were more favorable. A few years later, in 2017, efforts to deploy floating solar in Southeast Asia paid off. They enabled around 13 countries to benefit from floating solar installations, with an accumulated green energy production of 2 700 GWh since the first, grid-injected or consumed in-house, only with Ciel & Terre’s projects.

To continue spreading the word about floating solar considering the positive outcome and return on experience in Asia, Ciel & Terre International started responding to inquiries and reaching out to American developers and EPCs in 2016 from our global headquarters in Lille, France. From there we were able to design and supply our floating, racking, and anchoring systems for several small projects in Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, and California.

“Even if the FPV market was already big in Asia and Europe in 2018, it was really new and pretty much unknown here, so we had to work again on spreading the word about floating solar. We had to build everything again step by step, small/pilot projects leading to larger projects. Today, FPV is well known, and we have a large pipeline of projects. A lot of people believe in floating solar.

Bertrand COLIN

Ciel & Terre USA Managing director

One year later, with this initial interest in floating solar in the USA, Ciel et Terre USA, Inc. was formed in 2018 with an office in Petaluma, California. During the COVID pandemic, the US headquarters moved to Houston, TX. Today, Bertrand manages the US branch.

Floating solar in the US: state of play

Since opening, the US branch has completed 34 projects totaling 46 MWp. And, more than 10 projects equivalent to 30 MWp are live for 2023 and 2024.

Below are some key milestones since Ciel & Terre USA inception:

2016
2016

First project built in the USA

5 kWp in Orlando, FL
2017
2017

USA office opened

Petaluma, CA
2017
2017

Started manufacturing in the USA

in Atlanta, GA
2019
2019

Built first MW-scale project in the USA

1.8 MWp in Windsor, CA
2019
2019

Built first multi MW project in US

4.3 MWp in Sayreville, NJ
2020
2020

Moved manufacturing

to Houston, TX
2021
2021

Moved HQ office

to Houston, TX
2022
2022

Built current largest project in the US

8.9 MWp on Canoe Brook Reservoir, NJ
2023
2023

Pipeline keeps growing

Each year our customers have built more and more projects using Ciel & Terre’s Hydrelio technology:

Ciel & Terre Floating solar evolution in the USA

Ciel & Terre USA has so far provided our Hydrelio floating solar technology for projects located on various types of climates and ponds: reservoirs used for water treatment and irrigation, in hot as well as in snowy regions, on self-consumption and grid-injection purposes.

Canoe Brook floating solar project

Biggest floating solar project in the USA in 2023

8.9 MWp

Water supply pond
Freshwater
8.2% of water coverage ratio

16 510 PV modules
Grid injection

Bottom anchoring
2.5 m water level variation

Canoe Brook floating solar USA project

Ciel & Terre’s added value and track record

With developers and EPCs, as well as pond and reservoir owners, becoming more and more comfortable with floating solar, we believe the future is bright for floating solar in the US. Our current pipeline has over 160 projects totaling over 1.3 GW. Next up is South and Central America and The Caribbean. Ciel & Terre USA has a few small projects in Chile, Colombia, and Panama, but we know there is much more potential across The Americas. Ciel & Terre International has 290 projects totaling 850 MWp installed to date. With this recent momentum, the Americas will eventually catch up with our Asian partners and we will have projects like Changbin in Taiwan (88 MWp) here too.

Can we help with your floating solar project?

By Laura, Marketing

Featuring Chris and Emily ,  Ciel & Terre USA

 

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