Australian Company Infratech Will Export Solar Power System to U.S. City
Infratech Industries, an Australian-owned and operated sustainable infrastructure company, has sold its floating solar system to the City of Holtville, California.
The bulk of the system is being manufactured in Australia, and marks the first export from Australia of this technology.
The deployment of the one megawatt floating solar power system—which includes 276 rafts, 3576 panels and 12 treatment pumps—will generate 20 percent more power than a fixed land-based system and will power Holtville’s new water treatment facility. The system will save water from evaporation, improve the quality of the water, and reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels and treatment chemicals.
“Installing Infratech’s floating solar system is the right move for Holtville, and further proves our progressive approach to infrastructure and the environment,” said James Predmore, the city’s acting mayor. “This move puts us ahead of the rest of the U.S.”
Infratech Industries, established in 2012, is an Australian company based in Sydney that specializes in sustainable infrastructure. It works with communities to develop and implement technologies and protocols that promote the evolution of renewable energy, waste processing, and water management systems. Earlier this year it unveiled the first floating solar system ever deployed in Australia in Jamestown, South Australia, in a climate similar to that of Holtville.
Holtville is known as the Winter Salad Bowl of the United States, with the agricultural heartland relied on to produce more than 80 crops. Holtville Council Member, David Bradshaw, who also serves as the assistant water manager for Imperial Irrigation District, said the deployment will enable Holtville to save valuable agricultural space for farming while simultaneously reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.
“Our decision to use Infratech’s floating solar system means we are not losing valuable farmland to massive solar farms; we can use three existing ponds and save our soil for increasing our capacity to produce crops,” he said.
Situated near the San Andreas Fault, Holtville’s energy infrastructure has to be able to withstand earthquakes and tremors. Infratech’s system is able to float on water and therefore can shift on the surface in the instance of tremors.
The floating solar system will significantly reduce evaporation of the town’s drinking water. “We’re in the desert, and we lose more than five feet of water a year to evaporation while typically only receiving around three inches of rain annually,” said Bradshaw. “Our main source of water, the Colorado River, is currently in drought. Infratech’s platform will reduce evaporation as it reflects sunlight off the water, while treating the water and reducing our need for chemicals such as chlorine.”
The system is expected to be fully installed and operational by mid-2016.