Australian Company To Build Floating Solar Farm In India

Australian solar power company Sunengy Pty Limited has announced a deal with India energy giant Tata Power for the construction of floating solar farm in India by the end of this year.
 
The Sunengy Liquid Solar Array (LSA) utilises Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) technology; which consists of a lens that focuses sunlight onto solar cells. An advantage of CPV is substantial cost reduction in deploying solar power systems as it requires far less semiconductor materials such as silicon than standard solar panels.
 
The units are placed on a floating framework, reducing the need for expensive supporting structures to protect from high winds. In fact, windy weather can assist in power production as the lenses submerge in rough conditions and the water cools the cells, which increases their efficiency and life-span. 
 
According to Phil Connor, Sunengy Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer, an LSA installation can generate more electricity than an average hydroelectric dam – while using less than 10 percent of its surface area. Using the example of the Portuguese hydro plant, Alqueva, Mr. Connor says a 240 MW LSA solar farm could increase annual energy generation by 230%.
 
“If India uses just one percent of its 30,000 square kilometers of captured water with our system, we can generate power equivalent to 15 large coal-fired power stations,” said Mr Connor.
 
With climate change starting to impact many hydroelectric operations due to drought, Sunengy says LSA can supply a significant amount of a hydroelectric facility’s daytime power output from the solar collectors, keeping the water in reserve. It essentially helps facilitate “on demand” 24/7 electricity production, an aspect crucial for solar power to become more widely adopted.
 
The construction of the pilot plant in India will being in August this year. Sunengy has plans to construct a larger floating solar farm in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales in mid 2012 before going into full commercial production.