The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced collaboration with KfW for implementation of solar power projects over water bodies.

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has conducted a study to assess the potential of floating solar power in India. In collaboration with Germany-based development bank KfW, ministry plans to set up two floating solar power plants in the states of Maharashtra and Kerala. Both the plants are estimated to cost about US$46.15 million.

MNRE senior official reported that at the beginning 40 MW of solar capacity would be set up. Larger capacity floating solar plants are also expected to be built once technical viability of the floating solar technology is assessed from the initial two projects.

According to the preliminary study undertaken by Kolkata-based Renewable Energy College, India has the potential to generate 310 GW of solar power from floating solar power plants. There are 61.48 lakh hectares of still water surfaces in India which can be used to install floating solar panels.

The floating solar power plants are believed to generate better yields compared to solar power plants installed on land. According to solar power expert, SP Gon Choudhury, 1 MW floating solar plant can generate 1.7 million units per year, while the same on land will generate 1.6 million units. The area required for installation on land and water is almost same. The per MW capital cost for floating plants is around Rs 9-10 crore (US$1.35-1.5 million) whereas installation cost of ground-based utility-scale solar power project has fallen to around Rs 5.3 crore (US$0.8 million) per MW.

Recently, India’s National Hydro Power Corporation or NHPC Limited has announced plans to set up 600 MW floating solar power project at one of its largest hydro power complexes.

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