The Indian state of Punjab has launched a tender to set up canal-top solar power projects as part of its ambitious solar power policy.

The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has issued tender to set up 15 MW canal-top solar power capacity in the state. The Punjab government had earlier announced an ambitious plan to set up 1 GW of canal-top solar power capacity over its large network of irrigation canals.

In order to incentivise project developers the government has announced a 30% subsidy in the project cost. Developers can bid for a minimum capacity of 2.5 MW and a maximum capacity of 7.5 MW.

The state government has announced a target to cover 5,000 km of canals across the state. Through this program, the government hopes to generate 15% of the state’s total electricity demand.

Canal and rooftop solar power projects are the only viable options for Punjab as it is an agricultural state and land availability for large-scale ground-mounted projects remains an issue. As a result, the state government has a relatively lower (compared to other states) capacity addition target of 2 GW.

Last month, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy reported progress on the various canal-top solar power projects being pursued across the country. The ministry sanctioned support for 50 MW canal-top solar power projects. Support for 20 MW capacity has been approved for projects in Punjab. Two projects of 2.5 MW capacity each have so far been auctioned, the ministry reported. Gujarat and Karnataka are each working on 10 MW canal-top capacity each.

The total cost of setting up 50 MW canal-top solar power capacity has been estimated at Rs 514 crore (US$77 million) which is around twice the cost of utility-scale solar power project on per MW basis.



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