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Gujarat gets world's first canal-top solar plant

Last updated on: April 24, 2012 09:05 IST

Gujarat gets world's first canal-top solar plant

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The world's first 1 MW canal-top solar power plant in Gujarat's Mehsana district has generated 200,000 units of clean energy since it was commissioned two months back, a top official said on Monday on the eve of formal inauguration of the ambitious project.

The project, which virtually eliminates the need to acquire huge tracts of land as is typically needed in setting up such plants, was commissioned in late February this year.

The project covers 750 metres of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited branch canal passing through remote village of Chandrasan, with a network of solar panels, said a top official of the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Photographs: Reuters

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The plant was set up at the cost of around Rs 17.50 crore (Rs 175 billion) by the US-based Sun Edison and is projected to generate 1.6 million units annually and simultaneously prevent evaporation of 9 million litres of water.

"This is the first-of-its-kind canal-top solar power plant to be set up by Sun Edison in the world using panels made by our parent firm MEMC Electronics Materials Ltd," said head of Communications at Sun Edison Jaideep Singh Chowdhary.      

Chief Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the plant situated at Chandrasan village on Tuesday.

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Image: A devotee shows his back, with an image of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, as he flexes his muscles.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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The plant which is connected to the state grid through Uttar Gujarat Vidyut Corporation Limited, had gone on stream in late February.

"The trial run of the plant indicates that solar panels here could produce 15 per cent more power as compared to conventional installations as the water flowing under the panels keeps them relatively cool," said GSECL MD Gurdeep Singh.

The cost of the plant is expected to come down to Rs 12 crore (Rs 120 million) or so as it was higher since it being the first such pilot project, he said.

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Image: Employees of Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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The entire length of SSNL canal network in Gujarat is around 19,000 kilometres and if even 10 per cent of it is used for this type of projects it could generate 2,400 MW of clean energy annually, Singh said.

"It would eliminate need of 11,000 acres of land required for a solar project of this magnitude and save 2 billion litres of water annually," he claimed.

A 800 KW of peak energy production has been recorded from this plant during a day so far, which is connected to the state grid, a GSECL official said.

Sun Edison has a total installed capacity of 45 MW of solar power in Gujarat and has also bagged a contract for a 2.5 MW rooftop solar project in Gandhinagar.


Image: A prototype sun tracking solar panel.
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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