Renew Power Ltd. has won the tender to develop a 3MW floating PV system in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, after a bidding process by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). The project is being financed through a grant received from the Asian Development Bank’s Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund.
“Floating solar is an emerging technology trend with huge potential and we are proud to be associated with this project at the Meghadrigedda reservoir, Visakhapatnam,” said Prabhat Kumar Mishra, Head of Distributed Solar & Offtake at Renew Power.
Mr. Mishra said an abundance of bodies of water in India could mean a critical role for floating PV and, he added, higher efficiency and lower installation times are attractive for the technology. Citing industry estimates, he said if 10 to 15% of India’s water bodies were used for floating PV, some 300 GW could be produced.
A drop in the ocean
In that vein, Shekhar Dutt, Director General of the Solar Power Developers Association, has said: “The overall surface area of India’s major water reservoirs is more than 40 million km2. If only one-third of that figure – around 14 million km2 – was covered with floating solar installations, India could generate 700 GW of solar capacity.”
In recognition of those figures, the Solar Energy Corporation of India opened a 10 GW expression of interest tender, to generate momentum for the industry.
“For developers, this is an opportunity to build up expertise in a domain with higher entry barriers than the regular PV market,” said Josefin Berg, Research Manager at analysts IHS Markit. “Expertise in floating PV would also open up opportunities in other parts of the world, mainly in Asia, where floating PV is already gaining traction. The biggest challenge, however, will be the price versus quality of the projects, as low bid prices may impact the quality of the solutions.”