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State pulls off rare feat in reaping Sun,saving water

Gujarat has pipped Punjab in setting up the country’s first canal-based solar power project by executing a 1-MW (Mega Watt) project on one of the branch canals of the Narmada canal network in the state.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad |
April 24, 2012 5:45:27 am

Gujarat has pipped Punjab in setting up the country’s first canal-based solar power project by executing a 1-MW (Mega Watt) project on one of the branch canals of the Narmada canal network in the state.

The project,which started functioning on February 22,2012,on the Sanand branch canal near Chandrasan village of Mehsana district,was completed in six months,well ahead of a similar 1-MW project in Punjab,where an official nod was given by the Punjab government in June 2011.

“Though the project in Punjab got the necessary clearances in June last year,it has not progressed much beyond the DPR (Detailed Project Report) stage,” an official told The Indian Express. The state governments in Gujarat and Punjab — the two states have 19,000 km and 14,000 km of canal network respectively — plan to take the canal-based solar projects ahead once the 1 MW pilot projects succeed.

The Gujarat project,which has already generated 1.99 lakh units of electricity since February this year,will be officially “dedicated to the nation” in an elaborate ceremony chaired by Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the project site on Tuesday.

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The canal-based solar project executed by Sun Edison in Gujarat is a pilot project designed to eliminate the requirement of land. According to official estimates,1 MW of solar project requires 5-7 acres of land.

“We are the first state to implement such a unique project,” said Gurdeep Singh,managing director of the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd,which is one of the partners in the project along with Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL).

The solar panels set up over 750-meter-long stretch of the Narmada branch canal will have a capacity to generate 16 lakh units of electricity annually. It will also prevent evaporation of 90 lakh litres of water. The electricity generated here is fed to the grid of the Uttar Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam ltd,which supplies power to north Gujarat.

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“Even if 10% of the existing canal network can be used for setting up solar power plants,it will have a potential to install power generation capacity of 2,200 MW. This can eliminate the need of 11,000 acres of land that would have been required otherwise,” Singh said.

“On an average,these canal-based solar power projects exhibit peak performance for 5.5 hours (11 am to 4.30 pm) daily for 300 days of light in a year. The power generation is optimum if the canals are facing south,” said Jaideep Singh Chowdhary,head,marketing and communications wing of Sun Edison,which has installed over over 45 MW of solar power generation capacity in Gujarat.

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First published on: 24-04-2012 at 05:45:27 am

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