Have you heard of a floating solar farm?
Summary: TOWNSVILLE could become home to Australia’s first floating solar farm under a $336 million proposal that promises to create up to 1200 local jobs.....
HydroSun will submit a market-led proposal for a solar farm on Ross Dam to Townsville City Council this week.
Under the proposal, 33,400 individual “floats” would be installed on the water, generating up to 200MW/hour.
HydroSun chairman Soren Lunoe said the council could become a high-voltage generator and retailer of electricity, with the farm to also offset water pumping costs from the Burdekin Dam. Energy would be stored on shore, with 400 containers each housing a ½MW/h battery made of vanadium, a metal that stores energy.
HydroSun has proposed to mine vanadium at Julia Creek, for use in batteries that are double the size of lithium-ion batteries. Mr Lunoe, who invented the solar float technology 12 years ago, said the floating panels produced about 20 per cent more power on water compared to on the ground. “When solar panels are on the ground, the production capacity reduces due to heat,” he said. “The water acts as a cooling agent.”
If the council adopts the idea, HydroSun will look to State and Federal governments to fund and own it. The company has spoken to state and federal politicians, including the Prime Minister’s office, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, Opposition spokesman for energy and climate change Mark Butler, One Nation MP Steve Dickson and Kennedy MP Bob Katter.
Mr Lunoe said James Cook University was also eager to work on the project’s environmental components.
“We are advocating for the council to become a high-voltage generator and retailer of electricity. Its resultant cost per MW/h will be less than $83MW/h,” he said. “If the council adopted the idea and sold the electricity for 20c MW/h they would make $22 million a year.
“Energy from this project could be used to pump the water from the Burdekin and reduce electricity costs.
“They could use the sunshine, which is not likely to increase in price to pump.
“It would essentially provide an end to Townsville water restrictions plus cheaper energy for the city,” he said.
JCU division of research and innovation business development manager Anthony Tucker said he had spoken with HydroSun.
“We essentially see merit in the aim of what they’re working toward,” Mr Tucker said.
“The elements of water security, water quality and job creation are important goals.
“We need to determine how effective their technology would be in this region given the challenges and circumstances of the particular area.”
Mr Frydenberg, who met with HydroSun in June, said the Turnbull Government was technology “neutral”.
“We welcome new projects which can deliver as we transition to a lower-emissions future,” he said.