Start-up in Australia aims to power rural communities with solar rafts

Infratech Industries, an Australian start-up established by an Indian venture capitalist, has developed solar rafts as a power solution for rural communities.

The Jamestown, South Australia, -based company has produced the 300-kg solar rafts which can be floated on water reservoirs, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

These arrays are able to generate 57 per cent more energy than rooftop solar. And they are able to cut use of dirty power by 10-15 percent, the report says.

Currently, Infratech has installed a $12 million bank of floating solar panels near Jamestown in northern South Australia. It also has four arrays in the pipeline.

Infratech’s array comprises 112 tracked solar panels which are able to improve daily energy harvest.

The system also includes concentrating mirrors that increase efficiency of panels.

According to Professor David Lewis, director of Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology, Flinders University, the centre had studied data from one system on the site and verified Infratech’s claim that the panels produced 57 per cent more energy than rooftop solar.

Rajesh Nellore, the CEO of Infratech Industries, the company’s solar panels are more efficient than rooftop counterparts also because the system uses filtered water from the reservoirs to keep the panels cool.

And the company also supplies any excess filtered water, which goes through a series of nano filters, to communities in and around Jamestown.

Nellore says he has focused on building the company in Australia as state and local councils in India weren’t receptive to the idea.

He adds that there is a “sizeable Australian population that needs help to survive” contrary to the popular perception that all Australians are rich.

“We are all about putting dollars back into the pockets of those who are struggling by lowering their rates. It is about helping [those] people where help is needed,” he has told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Ajith Kumar S

editor@greentechlead.com