The Floating Tracking Cooling Concentrator (FTCC) system is designed to exploit unused areas of artificial reservoirs or disused quarries.
While the water keeps the panels at low temperatures, reflectors are positioned to maximize solar capture at different times of day, making it more efficient than a traditional installation, Rosa-Clot said.
The head of Scintec, a small family business which produces a variety of renewable energy and industrial devices, Rosa-Clot said the pilot plant set up on the lake near Pisa, Tuscany, was a model of efficiency.
"It's a small-scale design, 30 kilowatts, which would suffice for a dozen or so families. The standard is set at 3kW per apartment," he said.
At an estimated price of around 1,600 euros per kW including installation, a plant the size of Colignola could cost some 48,000 euros ($63,000).
Scintec says its system costs 20 percent less than ground-based structures.
The flat panels are winged by reflectors and sit on raft-like structures which are anchored to the lake bed with a pylon.