According to reports, few months from now, Bangalore will see several of the city’s lakes dotted with royal blue solar panels floating the surface, replacing plastic covers and garbage amidst sheets of algae.
Enzen Global Solutions, an energy and environment consulting and business services company is planning to put up ‘barge-mounted’ or floating solar power plants on polluted lakes and irrigation ponds in Karnataka in partnership with different Government or private entities who own the water bodies.
“We have identified several water bodies where the floating panels can be installed and we are in talks with stakeholders to finalise the projects,” Dr Uma Rajarathnam, Head of Enzen’s Clean Energy and Environment Practice told Business Line.
“We expect the first such project to be installed by April 2012, she added.
Enzen will work in partnership with the owners of the lakes who could be the lake development authorities, local panchayats, the Government or even a private entity who will invest in setting up of the power plant.
“The power drawn from the panels can either be connected to the nearest grid with the distribution company’s approval or can be used by the owner of the lake for captive consumption,” Dr Rajarathnam said.
While Enzen will manage the implementation of the project such as securing Government permission, drawing up different revenue models etc, Enzen’s partner French company Ciet-el-terre will take care of the technical aspects of manufacture, installation and maintenance of the solar panels.
According to Dr Rajarathnam, the “potential for such projects is huge” with Karnataka alone having a potential of about 1,000 MW.
“Also, the costs of setting up a floating power plant are comparable to that of setting up a regular solar power plant on land, so it is no loss for the investor” Dr Rajarathnam pointed out.
The panels will occupy just a third of the lake space, the capacity of the projects could be anything between 250 KW and 5 MW, she added.
“The idea is to utilise the polluted water surface that would otherwise go waste, to harness solar power. Also, the panels will have an aerator attached which will help purify the water bodies on a long term,” Dr Rajarathnam added.