Science

Floating Solar Tech Heads Toward California

By Paul Pajarillo , Dec 07, 2015 10:36 PM EST
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Startup geotechnical engineering company Infratech that is based in Sydney will be selling an IKEA kit-styled solar panel to the state of California. Unlike any solar panels, the technology boasts not only about generating electricity but also disables water from evaporating.

Infratech, an Australian engineering company, has scored its first export sale for its floating solar panels to Holtville, California. The IKEA kit-styled project can generate electricity as well as reduce water evaporation. The innovation involves 3500 solar panels, 12 water treatment pumps and 276 rafts. The system will be used to generate electricity for the Holtville water treatment plant as well as aid in reducing water from evaporating.

Infratech's chief executive Dr. Rajesh Nellore did not disclose the system's cost or generation expenses but he states that the system's value comes from the benefits that reach beyond power generation that includes reduced evaporation of water, outbreak prevention of blue-green algae and improved access on water treatment maintenance. Dr. Nellore added that power is just one way of paying back system costs, which estimate a 50-50 benefit for both water and electricity.

The targets for the floating solar panels are local government units in Australia and the United States, with the focus in California because the state suffers from drought. Dr. Nellore added that California's need for being sustainable is there and he understands the benefits of water evaporation.

Infratech's floating solar system was first used in Jamestown, South Australia. Presently, the company is in competition with companies that are based in the U.S. in the solar industry. Dr. Nellore states that Infratech's edge against them is Australia's strict building code requirements that the company incorporates in its system. The floating solar panels have the ability to withstand high-pressure winds and water surges that may arise from earthquakes and other disasters. Unlike other solar panels out in the market, Infratech's can be assembled and disassembled. In addition, the company is in negotiations with different government bodies to further its sales in NSW and the United States of America.

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