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AP's largest floating solar power plant coming up near Vizag

Floating solar is relatively nascent in India with a limited number of success stories. Although a lot of State and national utilities have floated tenders, the overall capacity is still low

AP’s largest floating solar power plant coming up near Vizag
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AP’s largest floating solar power plant coming up near Vizag

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The floating solar projects at different locations across India are under various stages of construction and are located on reservoirs

Visakhapatnam: WITH zero land acquisition and no rehabilitation and resettlement issues, many have started showing interest to go green in exploring renewable energy.

Amid growing relaxation on fossil fuels, being the leading cause for air and water pollution, NTPC has taken the lead.

Simhadri Super Thermal Power Plant at Parawada near here has set an example for others to replicate by gearing up to commission a 25 MW floating solar power plant on its reservoir in two phases with an investment of Rs 110 crore. This is the largest plant in Andhra Pradesh.

NTPC has 2,404 MW of renewable energy projects under implementation, out of which 237 MW comes from floating solar projects located in reservoirs at its existing stations.

Towards giving further impetus to renewable energy in the southern region, NTPC is establishing 100 MW floating solar plant at Ramagundam in Telangana and 92 MW at Kayamkulam in Kerala.

The projects are under various stages of construction and all the floating solar projects are located on reservoirs.

Ajay Bansar, a Chandigarh-based expert on solar power, told Bizz Buzz that floating solar is relatively nascent in India with a limited number of success stories. Although a lot of State and national utilities have floated tenders, the overall capacity is still low.

He said "the floating solar circumvents significant land development issues while helping water retention in reservoirs and reducing challenges of transmission lines if installed close to hydro power projects."

Drawing inspiration from others, the Madhya Pradesh Government is planning to set up the world's largest floating solar plant to produce 600 MW on the surface water of Omkareshwar dam on the Narmada river.

The 100 MW floating solar PV project of NTPC at Ramagundam will be spread over 450 acres of water surface area in the reservoir. The 25 MW plant of Simhadri is in advance stage of producing power.

Floating solar plants are emerging as an alternative to conventional ground mounted PV systems which are land intensive. It has various benefits like conserving water through reduction of evaporation, increased generation due to cooling effect on the panels, reduced installation time.

Though the imposition of the lockdown affected the work of Simhadri's floating solar power plant, efforts are now on to commission the first phase of the project in a month or two, said Simhadri Group General Manager Diwakar Kaushik.

Simhadri meets its sweet water requirement from Yeleru canal and coal from Talcher of Odisha.

The floating solar power plant proposal was mooted in 2019. To achieve energy secrurity with thrust on green initiatives, everyone is showing interest for solar power. It has the biggest advantage over others due to cost factor following the drop in prices of solar panels.

Solar power provides natural evaporative cooling improving efficiency with vast obstruction-free surface on water. The water bodies are not affected by floaters. The floating cover reduces algal growth and improves marine ecosystems.

Experts say it assures low dust accumulation on PV modules, very low civil structures and quick module mounting and assembly with no welding or heavy machinery requirements. Floating power plants also can be managed with less manpower compared to land-based solar plants with fast material handling due to light weight.

Santosh Patnaik
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