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More Indian States Plan Canal-top Solar Power Projects

Following Gujarat’s lead in implementation of innovative canal-top solar power projects other Indian states are also looking to set up similar projects.

According to recent media reports, states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have announced commissioning of canal-top solar power projects. The Punjab government commissioned two projects with total installed capacity of 5 MW. Andhra Pradesh commissioned 400 kW project and is supplying power to 5 villages.

While the capital cost involved in implementation of such projects is significantly higher than the utility-scale or even rooftop projects, there are other benefits of canal-top solar power projects. Th most important being reduced loss of water from evaporation.

Indian states and companies have announced ambitious plans to set up canal-top solar power projects. In 2014, Punjab announced plans to set up 1,000 MW of solar PV projects to cover several kilometres of canals over the next three years. The state government targets 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.

More recently, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (Mahagenco) floated tenders for the preparation of detailed project reports for setting up solar power projects over water bodies in the state. The company plans to set up 1,250 MW solar power capacity over canals, lakes and reservoirs.

In 2014, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) had issued guidelines to set up 100 MW solar power capacity (PDF) over and along the canals in the country. The program will see solar photovoltaic power projects of capacity 1 to 10 MW installed over canals and on the banks of the canals in India.