Noria Energy: A Fresh Look at Floating Solar
In 2021, Noria Energy deployed the largest floating solar system in the United States at a wastewater treatment plant in Healdsburg, California.
he reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams have large, flat surfaces with excellent potential for the deployment of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. In addition to generating power, these large installations also reduce water temperature and can prevent algal blooms from forming. Noria Energy is one company exploring the potential of floating solar installations around the world, particularly in hydroelectric settings. In this interview, CEO Jon Wank and Head of Business Development Jairo Criollo tell us more. Hydro Leader: Please tell us about your backgrounds and how you can be in your current positions.
26 | HYDRO LEADER | June 2022
Jairo Criollo: I am the head of business development for Noria Energy. My background is in business development, technology, and software banking, and in 2018, I made the transition to renewable energy. We work with customers who have particular energy needs, and we’ve been trying to develop unique solutions that are tailored to water quality and energy resiliency. We started doing development work in Latin America, which is where we realized the potential benefits of combining hydropower and floating solar. We met with some providers and started doing some research and development. Eventually, that led to our first project to pair floating solar with hydro, which is now being deployed on a hydroelectric reservoir in Colombia. Last year, we deployed the largest floating solar system in the United States at a wastewater treatment plant in Healdsburg, California. hydroleadermagazine.com
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Jon Wank: I am CEO of Noria Energy. I entered the clean energy space in 2013 by joining forces with Professor Mark Jacobson, Actor Mark Ruffalo, business leader Marco Krapels, and filmmaker Josh Fox as a founding member of the nonprofit organization The Solutions Project. We worked with business and science leaders on plans to transition states to 100 percent renewable energy. In 2018, I pursued the same vision by founding Noria Energy with Alex Mayer and Jairo Criollo to help agencies, municipalities, and large commercial and industrial customers adopt renewables and meet energy goals. We identified
floating solar as a great way to help customers transition to renewable energy. We currently develop floating solar projects across the United States and in Latin America for water agencies, hydroelectric power plants, and commercial and industrial customers. We are also working on grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore floating solar and water quality. We are interested in the potential to improve the water quality on bodies of water in a variety of ways.