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Exploring the Feasibility of Floating Solar on Lauro Reservoir


Buchanan, Trent et al. (2023), Exploring the Feasibility of Floating Solar on Lauro Reservoir, Dryad, Dataset,


The City of Santa Barbara’s commitment to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2030 has led to an exploration of opportunities for clean generation with an emphasis on local projects for increased energy resilience. Floating solar (FPV) technology presents a unique and attractive solution to achieving this goal by increasing local renewable energy generation without occupying scarce available land in Santa Barbara. This report explores Lauro Reservoir as an appealing site for implementing this technology, technology that provides additional benefits such as reduced reservoir evaporation. Commissioning a project of this kind creates a win-win scenario for both the City’s energy goals and water supply system; however, stakeholder considerations and barriers from local, state, and federal levels must be navigated to prove FPV feasibility at this site. We assess these considerations and utilize modeling software to identify the costs and value of several potential FPV system configurations. After an exploration of system designs, co-benefits, and generation estimates, results show an optimal system design of 5.7 MW maximizes the site while producing electricity at a competitive price for the City. Implementation of this project could serve as a test case for further adoption of FPV on reservoirs by both the City of Santa Barbara and other municipalities.


Usage notes

Refer to the README.txt for more information. 

The SAM-Analysis.sam file contains distinct inputs for the System Advisor Model (SAM) for energy and financial modeling of four different system configurations. The file can be loaded into the SAM software to observe assumptions and choices around cost, design, generation, revenues, incentives, etc. More information about the software and instructions for installation and use can be found at



University of California, Santa Barbara