Jamestown is set for a raft of national and international exposure in coming months following the launch of Australia’s first floating solar system at the town’s wastewater treatment plant on April 29.
French and Indonesian representatives were in attendance at the opening, and a group of some 40 Americans will visit the plant later this month.
The national and international interest in the floating solar farm is expected to continue for some time, according to Infratech’s Industries director Felicia Whiting.
“This plant is our showpiece for exporting this sophisticated new technology around the world,” Ms Whiting said.
The floating solar system will generate an estimated 57 percent more power than fixed land-based systems.
The technology uses water to counteract the gradual loss of output caused by overheating solar panels to create a better performing and more efficient system.
The first of the systems to be built at the wastewater plant moves automatically to track the brightest point in the sky. Further systems will be built over coming weeks and months and each will feature different variations of technology to maximise power generation.
Minister for Climate Change Ian Hunter officially opened the site, congratulating Infratech Industries for persevering and bringing the technology and product to the marketplace.
He also congratulated Northern Areas Council for taking the bold step of agreeing to try the new technology.
“It takes courage to try something that is still in the development phase but ultimately this is how we achieve progress,” Minister Hunter said.
“It is projects such as these that will continue to keep South Australia as a national renewable energy leader.”
Northern Areas Council CEO Colin Byles and Mayor Denis Clark said the floating solar panels were expected to exceed the high energy demands of the waste water treatment plant.
As an added bonus, the shade of the floating solar panels reduced water temperatures and combated blue-green algae, lifting the quality of the treated wastewater, and reducing evaporation by up to 90 pc.
Infratech Industries CEO Dr Rajesh Nellore said businesses and residents in Jamestown and surrounding areas could enter into contracts to purchase power from the solar farm. More information on this will be printed in coming issues.
It is also likely tours of the solar farm will be operating for the general public over coming months.