Australia Launches First Floating Solar Plant

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Solar energy will now be used to treat wastewater at a treatment facility in South Australia, after phase one of Australia’s first floating solar plant was launched recently in Jamestown, South Australia, where it will begin supplying power to the wastewater facility owned by Northern Areas Council.australia floating solar

The plant floats on sewerage water of the facility, and at its full scale it will cover five basins of water in Jamestown and Gladstone, in the state’s north.

The Sydney-based project developer, Infratech Industries, is developing the $9.5 million 4MW PV system as its showcase project. This floating solar plant is said to generate about 57% more power than land-based systems, and will be enough to meet the electricity requirements of the entire wastewater treatment facility.

The proprietary tracking, cooling, and concentrating technology uses water to counteract the gradual loss of output caused by overheating solar panels to create a better performing and more efficient system.

As per the Infratech’s chief executive Raj Nellore, the plant will be run under a community driven business model for which the company has signed a 25-year power sale agreement with the council. The project owners, Northern Areas Council, will save about 15% on their current energy expenditure and will also gain additional revenue from the excess power which will be exported for use by council buildings and other community facilities.

It is also being claimed that the system can reduce evaporation losses by 90%.

Solar Citizen’s National Director Claire O’Rourke  said that, “When business and the Australian people are crying out for leadership on renewable energy it’s extremely disappointing that our political leaders are ignoring their calls.”

“The uncertainty that the Government has created around the Renewable Energy Target has had a devastating impact on the industry,” she added.

Infratech has shared a great video of the construction time lapse of the system, take a look here, or check out our other posts on floating solar power plants.

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Anand Upadhyay

is a Fellow with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI, New Delhi). He tweets at @indiasolarpost. Views and opinion if any, are his own.

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