Australian-first floating solar plant under construction in South
An Australian-first floating solar power plant it may be operational in South Australia by early April, with construction about to begin.
According to ABC News, the plant will float on a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown in the state’s mid north.
Felicia Whiting of Infratech Industries said the plant was designed so that much of the construction could be carried out offsite and slotted together at the facility.
“We should see some plant on the site within about two weeks,” Ms Whiting said.
She also explained that as the solar panels were floating they would be kept cool by the water mass, making them about 57 per cent more efficient than land-based solar panels.
“It prevents water evaporation up to 90 per cent of the surface area covered, and for dry states and dry climates that’s a big water saving measure,” Ms Whiting said.
“It prevents the outbreak of blue-green algae by keeping the surface water cool, which is for treated wastewater an issue in water quality.
“By preventing photosynthesis, the energy from the sun goes into the panel rather than into the water.”
Jamestown solar farm to showcase technology
Infratech has developed floating solar power plants in countries such as France and South Korea, but the company had seen them as test sites for the new and improved model planned for South Australia.
“The plants that we had operating overseas were really behind the meter and not at the utility level and certainly didn’t have some of the sophistication,” Ms Whiting said.
The South Australian plant was expected to produce not only enough energy to power its co-located wastewater treatment facility, but have excess power flow-on to the township of Jamestown.
“The water treatment plants are heavy uses of power for the actual water treatments and pumping,” Ms Whiting said.
“Quite sustainably, with no additional use of land, we can use the water surface to power the water treatment facility.
“In addition to that, because we’re so efficient, we’re able to export power to the township.”
Ms Whiting said that once operational, the plant would become Infratech’s showpiece for export around the world.
“We’ve invested our whole research and development program in this technology over the past two years in South Australia,” she said.
“We have other councils waiting to have a look at this and see how it might be adapted to a water basin or a community wastewater management scheme.
“We are using Australian engineering and it’s an Australian supply chain – that will be taken internationally.”
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