It has 57 per cent more power than fixed land-based systems.
Infratech Industries launched Australia’s first floating solar system yesterday which will generate an estimated 57 per cent more power than fixed land-based systems.
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.
Based in South Australia’s Jamestown, the Northern Areas Council Waste Water Treatment Plant is the first to implement the new system which is expected to exceed the plant’s high energy needs and will feed through to the surrounding local communities and council buildings.
Infratech Industries director Felicia Whiting said the benefits extend beyond energy efficiencies to improve the treatment plant’s water quality and create nearly 70 new jobs for the local community as a result of the project.
“Blue-green algae is a major concern for wastewater treatment plants and the shade produced by the floating solar panels combats this problem by limiting the photosynthesis process. The energy goes into the panels, not the water, so the surface stays cool which helps to lift the quality of treated wastewater.” she said.
“On a broader scale, the technology is suitable for any body of water including drinking water and moving water bodies such as lakes. Since it reduces evaporation by up to 90 per cent, it can have a powerful saving for areas affected by drought and dry climate such as Australia and California, Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines.”
The Northern Areas Council will reap additional economic benefits with a cost saving of approximately 15 per cent on their current energy expenditure plus an additional one per cent margin on the excess energy provided to the local community.
“As Australians evangelise this type of technology, it is our hope that renewable energy becomes the mainstream rather than niche solution. Change is not beyond us and this is definitely a strong step forward,” Whiting said.
As well as being privately funded, more than 15 Australian engineers and research scientists in the Nano Science and Technology Department in Adelaide’s Flinders University were involved in the project’s technological and engineering development.
The development team will remain involved as research and development continues into integrated water treatment, phosphorous treatment systems and energy storage.
Jon Dee, Australia’s leading expert in energy efficiency, author of ‘Energy Cut’ (EnergyCut.info/SME-book), and co-founder of the Planet Ark and DoSomething organisations, has applauded the innovation and leadership of Infratech Industries.
“Solar PV panels currently generate renewable electricity on more than 1.36 million Australian rooftops, so we’ve more than shown our acceptance of solar technology,” he said.
“However, many people want to see more solar innovation being undertaken in Australia by local companies, in a way that helps the environment and generates local jobs at the same time.
“The development of Australian-owned, researched and developed floating solar is to be applauded as it shows that Australian companies can be leaders in the transition to economies that are powered by increasing amounts of renewable energy.
“In addition to reducing greenhouse emissions, there is also strong potential to export this technology to other countries which can only lead to even more jobs.”
View original article at: Solar technology addresses algae problem for wastewater plants