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Tonko wants more floating solar arrays

Dec 06, 2022 12:11 pm

Kenneth C. Crowe II reports in the Times Union that the floating solar array for the Cohoes city reservoir is not in the water yet, but Rep. Paul Tonko wants to create similar projects across the nation. Tonko is introducing legislation for federal support to replicate the project. “The innovative project in Cohoes shined a light on the advantages of floating solar to reach our nation’s renewable energy goals and reduce bills for families and communities. Since the inception of this project, I’ve said that the Cohoes reservoir will serve as a model for the nation and—with my POWER our Reservoirs Act that I just introduced—it will do just that,” Tonko, a Democrat representing the 20th Congressional District, said on Dec. 2. Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler predicts that the $5.9 million array with 8,000 solar panels will be floating in the fall of 2024 or the spring of early 2025. “We said from the start this could be a national model. We’ve been working with the congressman. He’s been super enthusiastic and a great help to us financially,” Keeler said. Tonko says a 2018 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that deploying floating solar on the country’s more than 24,000 human-made reservoirs could save 2.1 million hectares of land and meet 10 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Solar arrays in water cost more than land-based systems, but have other benefits, including reducing algal blooms. Read the full story in the Times Union.