Published on March 24th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan11
India’s Solar Canals
I recently ran across this awesome image from Greenpeace International over on Google+:
Luckily, the Google+ share also included a link to an Indian business site that had more details. The Hindu Business Line writes:
Close on heels of commencing use of wastelands in northern districts and rooftops in towns and cities, Gujarat is set to potentially use the existing 19,000 km-long network of Narmada canals across the State for setting up solar panels to generate power.
The Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the first of a series of this project, known as Canal Solar Power Project, when he launches a 1 megawatt (mw) pilot project, which is already commissioned, on Narmada branch canal near Chandrasan village of Kadi taluka in Mehsana district on Tuesday.
However, this can’t be new, since the date on the article is April 23 (no year) and the next line is: “Last week, he inaugurated a 600-MW solar power project spread across 11 districts. This included a 214MW Solar Power Park, the largest such generation centre at a single location in Asia.” This occurred last April. I assume the canal solar project is now complete and solar power is being generated for the local communities, but I’m not actually finding any updates to the original story. So, for now, here are just some more details from The Hindu Business Line:
The pilot project has been developed on a 750-m stretch of the canal by Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) with support from Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), which owns and maintains the canal network….
The pilot project will generate 16 lakh units of clean energy per annum and also prevent evaporation of 90 lakh litres of water annually from the canal….
The cost of per megawatt of solar power, in this case, is likely to be much less than the estimated Rs 10-11 crore, as the two banks of the canal will be used to cover the canal by installing solar power panel and the government will not have to spend much on creating basic infrastructure, including land acquisition….
When completed, the SSNNL’s canal network will be about 85,000 km long.
Assuming a utilisation of only 10 per cent of the existing canal network of 19,000 km, it is estimated that 2,200 MW of solar power generating capacity can be installed by covering the canals with solar panels.
This also implies that 11,000 acres of land can be potentially conserved along with about 2,000 crore litres of water saved per annum.
Seems like a logical combination.