“SECI has come up with a request to set up 100 Mw floating solar panels on Hirakud and Chiplima dams in Sambalpur district, among other places. They have expressed interest to help in conducting a review of the water bodies to gauge the viability of installing floating solar panels,” an SECI official said.
A 100 Mw solar project can be developed on a water body with a surface area of one sqkilometre, the official said and added that the talks were at a nascent stage.
Kerala has a 500 Kwp (kilowatt peak) floating solar plant installed by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), spread across 1.25 acres of the Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad.
Another 100 Mw grid-connected solar PV project has been proposed for Uttar Pradesh. It will come up on the Rihand Dam in UP's Sonbhadra district. Given the land crisis in Odisha, the state government has long been struggling to develop a 1000 Mw solar park here. The government has failed to identify 5000-acre plot to develop the park and, eventually, has submitted a detailed project report to the Centre for setting up a 400 Mw park.
Developing solar projects on the water bodies will further the state's ability to fulfill Renewable Energy Policy, 2016, where it plans to add a capacity 2200 Mw of solar energy by 2022.
“Odisha is blessed with large water bodies like Hirakud, Chiplima and Jobra (in Cuttack) that can be used for putting up solar panels. The state government should make conscious efforts to develop the solar projects on water bodies as it will help the government in two ways.
First, the delay in land acquisition process can be overcome. Second, these large water bodies can be used to put up solar plants as they are lying unused,” said Swayam Prakash Baral, director at Canyon Consultancy, a Bhubaneswar-based renewable energy consultancy firm.The cost of developing per Mw of solar power on water bodies will be 15 per cent more than the cost of putting solar panels on land, added Baral.