The Haryana government is working to replicate multi-benefit model of renewable power generation of Gujarat by using canal tops and canal banks as potential solar power plants.
An extensive feasibility study is being carried out in different parts of the state for this ambitious project, Haryana Renewable Energy Department (HAREDA) director Balraj Singh told Hindustan Times on Sunday.
“We are working to adopt the ‘green power generation’ project as commissioned by the Gujarat government on the Narmada river. Surveys by experts from HAREDA and irrigation departments are underway to find the suitable places across the state to place solar power grids,” he said.
However, he said that economical viability of the electricity generated through solar models would be crucial factor as the state-run power companies of Haryana were proposed to sell to the consumers.
Experts identify two major advantages in building solar plants atop and along canals: efficient and cheap land use, and reduced water evaporation from the channels underneath.
“Due to natural reasons, each year millions of liters of water are evaporated from water bodies. Such innovative renewable power generation options may reduce wastage of water to an extent. But it will be a challenge to protect the expensive glass panel and other metal structures stationed in the isolated locations,” said an official from irrigation department.
In 2012, Gujarat was the first state in the world to set up canaltop solar power plants which are successfully generating energy.
Sources said that the Gujarat government, under the guidance of then chief minister Narendra Modi, had installed solar power panels on less than one-km stretch on Sanand-Kadi Narmada branch canal to generate 16 lakh units of clean electricity annually, enough to meet the domestic power requirement of 16,000 families.
In January this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had inaugurated new canal-top solar energy plant at Vadodara district in Gujarat, with the concept being seen as of added potential for alternative energy.
Meanwhile, HAREDA director Singh said that as Haryana had a vast network of canals as a part of its integral irrigation system, it is proposed to use canal tops and banks for installing solar plants.
“As per the plan, the power utilities would buy power from the proposed canal-top solar plants. It is noteworthy that solar energy is expensive and canal-top model would involve higher cost due to peripheral structures. But its benefit of being non-polluting is an attractive part,” said Singh while adding that ministry of new and renewable energy was playing a key role in the project.