What was dismissed as an outlandish announcement by chief minister Narendra Modi is turning into reality. Gujarat is all set to become the first state in the country to generate solar power through panels mounted on a water body, the Narmada canal to be specific.
The Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL) has undertaken the pilot project of 1 MW, under which solar panels will be installed atop the Narmada canal for generating power. The solar panels would be laid on around 1 km of the Narmada canal for generating 1 MW of solar power.
The solar panels are being installed atop the Narmada branch canal near Chandrasan village of Mehsana’s Kadi taluka, around 75 km from Ahmedabad.
“This is a unique project. Something like this has not been undertaken in the country,” state energy minister, Saurabh Patel, told DNA.
Chief minister Narendra Modi had first spoken about the plan to install solar panels atop Narmada canal at a function in Gandhinagar on October 3, but the announcement was greeted with a lot of skepticism. But, the project is now in advanced stages.
The engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project has been awarded to Sun Edison at a cost of Rs17.71 crore. This is slightly higher than a traditional solar plant, where panels are mounted on land, which costs in the region of Rs14 — 15 crore for 1 MW.
According to state government, the project would have multiple and lasting benefits. “Installation of panels on the canal will help in doing away with the need to acquire land. Evaporation of lakhs of litres of water will be prevented since the canal will be covered. And, we will generate clean energy,” Patel said.
Another advantage of the project is that power generated will be supplied to villages alongside the canal, which will lead to lower transmission losses. Meanwhile, officials said that work on the project is progressing well.
"The project is in advanced stages of completion. We expect to complete it in the next two to three weeks, and start work on the next phase," Bhargav Mehta, director, Sun Edison, said. The second phase of the project envisages solar power generation capacity of 2 MW by installing solar panels atop the Narmada canal.