India’s upcoming floating Solar Farm
India is in a major energy crisis. With the population multiplying on a daily basis the need for cheap forms of electricity have become a must. India has large plans, whether politically invoked or not; we might be one of the first few nations with a large chunk of renewable electricity sources.
About five years ago large parts of the Thar desert in Rajasthan and surrounding areas was sanctioned for subsidised privately run solar farms. The land was practically given for free, and an energy reclaim of Rs. 5/ KW (8 cents approximately) was promised to the solar energy companies that were supposed to be set up.
The project is yet to see the light of day. However, sources tell us that the work is still underway.
Meanwhile, a new project in the southern state of Kerala is said to lead the Solar energy revolution in India, thanks to the abundance of sun and large water bodies. A new 50MW plant built entirely on 1.27 million square meter floating platform in Kerala is said already to be in the works. The plant has been approved by the NHPC and will get commissioned in October of 2014. (Yes this year).
This Solar Farm project will provide cheap and renewable electricity to about 18,000 homes. After the states announcement on building two lakh megawatt of solar power generation capacity, the price of barren solar usable land rose this quarter by tenfold, building a plant on water will be cheap for the government as well as the people enjoying the electricity.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”SP Gon Choudhury” author_title=”chairman of the Renewable Energy College”]
Each station would require around 3,000 square feet of space to generate 20 kilowatt of power. There are many water bodies that could be used for this
The total project is estimated to cost between Rs 350 crore and Rs 400 crore, the Renewable Energy College will assist in sourcing material till commissioning of the plant.
The first phase of this Solar Farm, estimated to cost Rs 35 lakh, has been fully funded by the ministry of new and renewable energy and is expected to generate around 12 kilowatt of power to begin with by October 2014.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”SP Gon Choudhury” author_title=”Chairman of the Renewable Energy College”]
The ecology of the water body is not likely to be affected much, and it will also reduce evaporation, thus helping preserve water levels during extreme summer. Solar panels installed on land, face reduction of yield as the ground heats up. When such panels are installed on a floating platform, the heating problem is solved to a great extent
The yield on these panels is expected to be 20% higher than land based solar power plants. The overall capital cost for such solar projects will be around Rs 6.5 crores per megawatt, which will bring down costs of electricity to Rs 7 / unit. This price will then be further regularised by the state electricity board.
With the large availability of Sun energy in the country, the future may finally hold a strong supply of electricity for everyone, everywhere!