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Floating Solar power plant on Narmada branch canal near Sanand

Earlier this year, Tata power partnered with Sunengy, Australia to build the first floating solar plant in India. The construction of the pilot plant in India is expected to commence in August 2011.

The Punjab government in June this year approved the setting up of a project which will generate solar power by utilising the space over irrigation canals in the state.

According to reports, Sanad is now gearing up to house yet another first-of-its-kind project – a solar power plant to be built on Narmada branch canal passing through the town.

As part of a novel concept mooted by the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat government has decided to install solar power panels on one km stretch of Narmada branch canal near Sanand.

“To be developed on public private partnership (PPP) model, the solar plant on Narmada branch canal would generate one Mw of power, once fully operational,” said a top government official.

Interestingly, the solar project is expected to save 100,000 litres of water a year by reducing evaporation of canal water in that particular stretch of one km. The entire stretch would be covered by solar panels, thereby reducing evaporation of water.

As per the industry estimates, a 1 Mw solar power project roughly requires five acres of land. “Installation of solar panels on river canals would also take care of land issue for solar power project,” the government official added. The state government has already roped in one of the leading companies in solar energy space. SunEdison, a subsidiary of US-based global solar energy player MEMC, will be executing the project near Sanand. “This is for the first time such a project is being developed in India,” said a senior official of SunEdison.

The state government has already cleared the project and a new company is being floated to develop the project. “There are different concepts being developed for solar power generation. Developing a solar power generation facility on the water canals is one of such concepts. But for any such effort, first of all a feasibility study needs to be carried out as it is entirely a different ball-game than the existing projects being developed in India,” says Pranav Mehta, founder chairman of Solar Energy Association.

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