Floating water-cooled solar power in South Australia

This piece is by David Clarke. For more information see ramblingsdc.net

I’m 69 now and look back fondly on my younger years when I could say I was proud to be Australian. With my country’s failure to do anything substantial about its shockingly high greenhouse gas emissions those days are long gone.

However, I can say that I am very proud of my region, Mid North South Australia. According to my figuring, MNSA has 23% of Australia’s installed wind power! (SA has 39% of the total.)

Today I witnessed another renewable energy first for Mid North South Australia – floating water-cooled solar power on the Jamestown waste-water treatment ponds. The official opening was earlier today; I just happened to hear about it yesterday. This is the first of three stages, a different type of solar installation will be installed on each of three ponds. The second stage is due for construction next month.


The power from this first installation is to go to a nearby sawmill. The power from the second, and much larger, installation is to go into a microgrid and supply the local Council and several Jamestown businesses.

The panels are cooled by water circulated from the pond. Infratech, the developers, say that the water-cooling, solar tracking and concentration of light by the reflectors increases the output by 57% from what it would otherwise be.


At the same time as generating electricity, the panels reduce evaporation and algal growth, both of which are major problems for the Northern Areas Council who own the ponds. The Council CEO said that annual evaporation was around 2.5m. It’s a win-win-win situation.

The state Minister for Climate Change was at the opening; he said that according to calculations done by his department SA now has 41% of its electricity generated from renewable sources. Most of this is wind energy (note the wind turbines in the background of one of the photos), but I think SA has the highest per-capita rate of solar power generation as well.

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We in Mid North SA are reducing our emissions and doing our bit for climate change. What are the rest of you Australians doing? (To be completely honest about it, I doubt that one in a twenty residents of MNSA would even be aware of what our region is doing in renewable energy!)

3 thoughts on “Floating water-cooled solar power in South Australia

  1. Great write up David. Meanwhile VIC consumes mainly brown coal power and even exports 25%. It’s because it’s competitive, winning in AEMO casino because tax dodging transnational owners pay as little as $0.60 per tonne, gifted the mines as well as power stations by Mr Beyond Blue Kennet. Meanwhile again, just ascertained that this clever country has emission regs for residential slow combustion stoves but not flue stacks of power stations. Here’s looking forward to battery storage and stampede to off grid, thanks again.

  2. Floating Solar Power Systems are wonderful Ideas. And it’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created in South Korea. This Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water.

    In addition, you have to reduce vibration to install floating solar plants. Because, it can make micro-cracks to floating solar panels and the durability problem of floating solar plants. The risk of power loss in PV modules due to micro cracks is increasing.

    Vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Type Floating Body Stabilizer has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when floating solar plants are being rolled, pitched and yawed on the water.

    Recently, Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring Systems and Floating Body Stabilizers have been used for floating solar plants in South Korea.

    You can see them in Ochang Dam, South Korea. I N I WORLD

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