India Plans 100 MW Solar Power Capacity To Cover Canals

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Initiatives taken by the state of Gujarat in the renewable energy sector are increasingly getting absorbed in the national renewable energy policy of India.

Gujarat canal-top solar power plant

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued guidelines to set up 100 MW solar power capacity (PDF) over and along the canals in the country. The program will see solar photovoltaic power projects of capacity 1 to 10 MW installed over canals and on the banks of the canals in India.

The total cost of the program will be around $160 million, out of which about $38 million will be provided as financial assistance by the central government. All of the projects will be required to be commissioned within a span of three years. 50 MW of capacity will be set up to cover the canals while 50 MW of capacity will be set up along the banks of the canals.

Ever since the success of a 1 MW canal-top solar PV project in Gujarat, several state governments have announced plans to set up such projects. Gujarat itself is working to expand that project to a capacity of 10 MW.

The Punjab government recently announced that it will cover its canal network with 1 GW of solar PV power systems. The government has signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin for nanotechnology-based mounting structures for the solar PV modules. Damodar Valley Corporation also announced its plans to cover 2,500 kilometres of irrigation canals with 1 GW of solar power plants in the eastern part of India.

Gujarat has been a pioneer is developing solar power infrastructure in India. To date, the state leads all others in terms of installed solar power capacity. Another initiative implemented successfully by the state government is large-scale solar parks. The Charanka Solar Park is the largest in Asia, with a planned capacity of 590 MW, out of which about 230 MW has been commissioned. The central government now plans to replicate this model across several states at an even larger scale. A total of 20 GW of capacity addition is planned through ultra mega solar power projects over the next five years.

Image Credit: Hitesh vip | CC BY-SA 3.0

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