Private-run electrical utility provider  Tata Power Company Ltd has announced that Australian solar power Company, Sunengy Pty Limited has entered into a partnership with the Company for building India’s first floating solar power plant that will build a pilot plant for its low-cost, floating on water, solar technology in India by the end of this year. Construction of the pilot plant will begin by August 2011, Sunengy has plans to construct a larger floating solar farm in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales in mid 2012 before going into full commercial production.
The first of its kind project in India would use the low-cost technology of floating solar energy cells on water, the Liquid Solar Array (LSA) uses traditional Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) technology – a lens and a small area of solar cells that track sun light throughout the day, thereby supplementing electricity generation of large hydro-electric dams. Floating the LSA on water reduces the need for expensive supporting structures to protect it from high winds.

According to Phil Connor, Sunengy Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer, an LSA installation can generate more electricity than an average hydroelectric dam – while using less than 10 percent of its surface area. Using the example of the Portuguese hydro plant, Alqueva, Mr. Connor says a 240 MW LSA solar farm could increase annual energy generation by 230%.
“If India uses just one percent of its 30,000 square kilometers of captured water with our system, we can generate power equivalent to 15 large coal-fired power stations,” said Mr Connor.

Sunengy’s chairman Peter Wakeman also said that the primary market for liquid solar arrays is the provision of industrial scale electricity via hydropower facilities and other markets like mining sites or remote communities that rely on diesel power generators.

The lenses submerge in bad weather and the water also cools the cells which increases their efficiency and life-span.