Gujarat to set up 100 MW solar PV project atop Narmada canal

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Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam (SSNNL), which was formed for the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam, as well as to develop canal network infrastructure across Gujarat, has sought the approval of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for its canal-top solar project.

“We are expecting the Union ministry’s approval in the next three-four months. After that, solar panel installation work would kickstart, which will take another three months,” a source was quoted as saying by Financial Times while sharing the details.

“Installation of solar panels for 100 MW power generation would cover nearly 40 km canal. As per experts’ calculation, an area of 4 km branch canal required for solar panel in order to generate 10 MW power. Due to solar panel, evaporation of water would be reduced and more water would be available for irrigation purpose,” it added.

Sub-canals in central Gujarat are ideally located for canal-top solar projects as these face south-east direction, which could fetch maximum sunlight for power generation.

SSNNL has already successfully commissioned an aggregate of 35 MW of grid-connected solar capacity on Narmada’s Vadodara branch canals, including 10 MW canal-top in November 2014, 10 MW canal-top and 15 MW canal bank in October 2017, according to the information available on SSNNL website.

Narmada Main Canal—with a length of about 458.318 km up to the Gujarat-Rajasthan border— is the biggest lined irrigation canal in the world. The complete network of Narmada Canals spans nearly 70,000 km, which includes main branch canals, sub-branch canals and smaller canals reaching up to farms across Gujarat.

In another big solar move, the state-owned Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL) has invited bids for development of 1 GW of solar power capacity at Dholera solar power park. Being developed at the greenfield project of Dholera Special Investment Region, the Dholera solar power park is said to be India’s largest at 5 GW capacity.

At present, Gujarat has an installed solar power capacity of 1.7 GW, which the state government expects to augment to 8.8 GW by March 2022.