According to reports, if even 10 per cent of the 19,000 km-long Narmada canal network in Gujarat is used for setting up canal-top solar panels, it has the potential to produce 2,200 MW of solar power, save 11,000 acres of land that would otherwise be used and prevent 2,000 crore of precious water from evaporation annually, the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, said.
Also, canal-top solar power equipment produces 15 per cent more power than the plant set up on land as the water flowing underneath keeps the solar panels relatively cool and helps generate more power, he said. He was inaugurating India’s first 1 MW canal-based solar power project, commissioned on the Sanand branch canal near Chandrasan village of Kadi taluka, Mehsana district.
The State Government was compelled to take up this project through Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd (GSECL), as no developer was ready to take the challenge at that time, he said.
The 1 MW plant, set up over a 750 meter-long stretch of the canal, commissioned in February, will generate 16 lakh units of clean electricity and prevent evaporation of 90 lakh litres of water from the canal annually.
The length of the Narmada Main Canal, constructed under the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), is 458 km. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) has so far constructed about 19,000 km long canal network, out of the 75,000 km planned for the entire project.