India is building a floating solar power plant

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India actually faces a similar energy situation to Japan’s. Both nations have precious little territory to install these huge arrays. It’s not like either nation has a baking hot wasteland in which to install these plants like the US does. India, which has already begun installing 10MW solar plants atop the country’s numerous canals, has begun looking to its waters instead. “There are large stretches of water bodies in Kerala which NHPC wants to harness for solar power. This floating solar power technology was developed by the Renewable Energy College and has been implemented in the city. The first plant — a pilot project — is scheduled to be commissioned in October this year. NHPC had contacted us for offering technical know-how and installation assistance for their proposed 50-mw plant,” said SP Gon Choudhury, chairman of the Renewable Energy College. “Each station would require around 3,000 square feet of space to generate 20 kilo watt of power. There are many water bodies that could be used for this,” he continued.

The city-based Renewable Energy College has bagged the contract for imparting the technical know-how for setting up a 50-mw floating solar power plant for NHPC in Kerala. This will be the world’s first large floating solar power plant. “There are large stretches of water bodies in Kerala which NHPC wants to harness for solar power. This floating solar power technology was developed by the Renewable Energy College and has been implemented in the city. The first plant — a pilot project — is scheduled to be commissioned in October this year. NHPC had contacted us for offering technical know-how and installation assistance for their proposed 50-mw plant,” said SP Gon Choudhury, chairman of the Renewable Energy College. “Estimated to cost between Rs 350 crore and Rs 400 crore, the College will assist in sourcing material till commissioning of the plant.” A system of generating electricity from floating panels has been developed by the College sometime last year. With large water bodies available in eastern and south-eastern parts of the country in states like West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and South India, the technology leads to considerable savings on land prices and brings down power generation expenses, reducing the gap between thermal and solar power. It is also expected to offer greater generation yield, compared to similar panels installed on land. The first of its kind in India, the project is under execution at a lake in the outskirts of the city.

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