UP to tap water bodies for solar energyUP solar energy goal

Virendra Singh Rawat

To boost its renewable energy portfolio, Uttar Pradesh is looking to tap water bodies as solar farms to generate almost 11,000 megawatt (mw) of green energy.

The water bodies including canals, dams, embankments, reservoirs etc will be harnessed to set up grid-connected floating photovoltaic (PV) or solar power stations.

In such units, the solar panels are mounted on a buoyant anchor structure, such as polyethylene, that floats on the surface of water.

Most of the floating plants are likely to come up in Bundelkhand and Purvanchal (Eastern UP) spanning Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot, Mirzapur, Chandauli and Sonbhadra districts.

Meanwhile, the state is in the process of identifying water bodies, as also drafting the norms for allotting them for the proposed floating solar power plants. A high level committee has also been constituted to take the agenda forward.

In fact, UP New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) has also conducted the feasibility studies of a few water bodies for prospective allotment.

The state irrigation department will allot the water bodies to the alternative energy department for allotment to developers, but ensuring that the projects do disturb the local ecology or the aquaculture.

In India, floating solar plants are already functional in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The state irrigation department owns and manages a network of nearly 75,000 km of canals, 34,000 government tube wells, 92 reservoirs and 280 lift irrigation canals.

In August 2019, the Yogi Adityanath government (2017-22) had cleared the proposal of renewable energy majors viz. ReNew Power and Shapoorji Pallonji to collectively invest Rs 750 crore in a 150 mw floating solar power project in UP.

The project was proposed at the existing Rihand hydro power project of UP Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UPJVNL) in Sonbhadra.

ReNew Power and Shapoorji Pallonji were mandated to develop 100 mw and 50 mw of solar power capacity respectively, and supply such solar power to UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) for 25 years after commissioning at the rate of Rs 3.36 per unit.

UP is targetting 22,000 mw of solar energy generation in 4-5 years.

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