The northern New South Wales city of Lismore has called for tenders for a “floating solar plant” that will be community owned and installed on top of one a settling pond at the local sewage treatment plant.
The 99.9kW project is part of a unique partnership between the council and the community, where two 100kW projects are funded by the community, with the money lent to the council to build the project, and then repaid with interest at a commercial return to the investors.
Lismore is also pursuing a 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2023, and has launched a range of initiatives, including ownership of electric vehicles.
The tender for the floating solar project was launched on Wednesday, at the same time as tenders for a 99.9kW solar project on the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre, and a total of 70kW of rooftop solar on the Lismore community Centre, the Lismore library, the Oakes Oval pavilion, and a council depot.
The innovative floating system to be installed on the settling ponds at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant will be at the 99 kilowatt range and will have 300 solar modules.
A full feasibility study for the project which will determine the most appropriate system size for the plant given its energy use has yet to be conducted.
Floating solar has become popular in many countries. The world’s biggest floating solar array was recently installed in London, on a reservoir. Floating solar arrays are also being used on dams in China and India, in bays in Japan, and in Korea, the US, and Brazil.
Infratech, which built Australia’s first floating solar plant in Jamestown, has also sold its technology to US customers, and is building a 1MW floating solar project in the city of Holtville in California, also on a waste water treatment plant.
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