AUSTRALIAN solar power company Sunengy has partnered with Indian power utility Tata Power for a pilot plant of its floating-on-water solar technology.
Sunengy specialises in Liquid Solar Array technology, which has at its core a standard photovoltaic concentrator utilising lightweight plastic concentrator lens which floats on water, mounted on anchored rafts. These concentrators track the sun daily and seasonally.
The photovoltaic cells are housed in a container which sits in the water. The water, through convection action, cools these cells for improved efficiency. The lenses will also retreat under the water during hail or high wind weather events for protection.
This technology is said to utilise well-established solar and structural component technologies, while using relatively simple and less materials. The innovative use of water reduces the need for expensive supporting structures.
The pilot and demonstration system will be online by the end of 2011. Construction will start in August 2011.
Sunengy intends for the LSA technology to be located on and combined with hydroelectric dams to increase the power generation capacity of those sites. An LSA installation could match the power output of a typical hydro dam using less than 10 percent of its surface area. Other markets include mining sites as well as villages and remote communities reliant on diesel power generators.
Sunengy plans to establish a larger LSA system in the NSW Hunter Valley in mid 2012 before going into full production.
Embedded below is a Sunengy video on the LSA system.