solar units on water

Tata Power has teamed up with Australia's Sunengy Pty Ltd to manufacture India's first floating solar plant, a low-cost concept that aims to establish solar units on water to provide a new source of sustainable energy supply for India and other emerging countries.

Method of water management

It is basically a Concentrating Photovoltaic System (CPV) that aims to convert large water sources, such as a dam, into "batteries" that can store solar energy. This configuration would be the best method of water management and does not require the acquisition of large tracts of land to plant the solar farms on land.
Thanks to a lens that focuses the sun, the small, highly efficient solar cells can follow the sun throughout the day, like a sunflower. Floating on water reduces the need for expensive support structures to protect it from strong winds.

Groundwater wells

The great novelty of this floating photo voltaic concentrator is that, in bad weather conditions, the lens and cells can be submerged under water thanks to a hydraulic arm, a cooling that could increase the life and efficiency of the most critical elements to wear.


According to Sunengy executives, hydropower can supply about 87 per cent of the world's renewable energy, using only 10 per cent of the surface area of water resources. Such a facility could match the power output of a typical hydroelectric dam, using less than 10 per cent of its surface area, with six to eight hours of sunshine per day.

In the case of India, using 1% of its 30,000 square kilometres of dammed water, it could produce energy equivalent to the power generated by 15 coal-fired power plants. The pilot plant with these systems is expected to start floating in the test phase by August 2011, to go into full production from 2012.

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