According to reports, taking cue from Gujarat, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) proposes to set up solar power plant atop 2,494 kilometres long network of canals that has the potential to generate up to 1,000 mw green solar power.
Gujarat has shown the way with the commissioning of the world’s first one mw canal top solar power plant in Mehsana district over 750-metres stretch of canal in February this year.
Setting up solar power plant atop water canal eliminates the need for land acquisition and water evaporation from the canal that is quite high in India with sunshine for nearly 300 days in a year. DVC told a parliamentary panel last week to begin with 15 mw capacity canal top solar photovoltaic plant at DVC canal, Burdwan in West Bengal, was planned.
“Detailed project report has already been prepared by global consultant price water house cooper,” a power ministry official told Financial Chronicle.
In parallel, registration of the project at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for getting clean development mechanism (CDM) benefit has been initiated.
Gujarat and Rajasthan have already done lot of work in solar power and many states were keen to learn from Gujarat experience in tapping solar power.
Nearly 1,000 mw of solar power capacity has been set up in the country, of which 654.8 mw is in Gujarat, 197.5 mw in Rajasthan and 20 mw in Maharashtra.
The tariff has come down from Rs 18 per unit to about Rs 7 per kwh. Government was confident of achieving grid parity in per unit cost of solar power with that of thermal power in a couple of years, joint secretary in ministry of new and renewable energy, Tarun Kapoor said.
About 10 per cent of the 19,000 km-long Narmada canal network in Gujarat has the potential to produce 2,200 mw of canal top solar power, saving 11,000 acres of land that would otherwise be required and prevent Rs 2,000 crore of precious water from evaporation annually.
Also, canal-top solar power equipment produced 15 per cent more power than the plant set up on land as the water flowing underneath keeps the solar panels relatively cool.
The one mw plant, set up over 750 meter-long stretch of the canal 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 has so far constructed about 19,000 km long canal network, out of the 75,000 km planned for the entire project.
SunEdison India, which developed the canal-top project for Gujarat has now a new technology in which the solar panels would follow the movement of sun. This technology would be
Rs 2 crore more. Cost of setting up one mw of solar power is around Rs 10-15 crore unlike thermal power that costs Rs 5-6 crore.
Meanwhile, the ministry of new and renewable energy is implementing a Scheme on ‘development of solar cities’ that provides support for 60 cities in the country.
The ministry has sanctioned 41 cities for development as solar cities. Gandhinagar, Nagpur, Chandigarh and Mysore are being developed as model solar cities. The ministry has approved master plans for 28 cities and the project installations have already started in few cities, an official statement said.
Secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy Gireesh B Pardhan said on Saturday India’s electricity target through new and renewable energy in the twelfth plan period, especially through solar and wind, has been doubled to 54,000 MW from its current installed capacity of 27,000 MW.