Punjab, Andhra Take a Cue from Gujarat for Solar Canal Projects
New Delhi: Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have embraced an innovative project implemented in Gujarat by Narendra Modi as chief minister to cover the Narmada Canal with solar panels as the two states look to boost solar power generation. While Punjab has commissioned two projects to install solar panels on the Sidhwan Branch Canal and Ghaggar Branch Canal at a cost of Rs 51 crore, Andhra Pradesh has chosen the Losari Canal and the Polavaram Right main canal in West Godavari district. The 400 kW project executed by Andhra Pradesh on a 1.4 km stretch of the Losari Canal within eight months last year is already providing clean power to five villages and generating 1.46 mega units per year of green energy, prompting commissioning of another 600 kW project on the same stretch last month.
Punjab, with a 9,090 km canal irrigation network, has bigger plans and believes it has scope for more than 1,500 mw for installation of solar canal projects.
The state has commissioned two 2.5 mw projects each on its Sidhwan Branch Canal near Ludhiana and Ghaggar Branch Canal near Patiala, which are expected to generate 15 lakh units per mw each in a year.
Officials said Punjab has improvised the project as the width of its canals varies from 27 metres to 70 metres, higher than that in Gujarat, where the canal width is 1020 metres, and with higher volume of water flows calling for design innovations.
The Gujarat experience was that generation of energy for same capacity of a so- lar panel was higher in a canal top solar plant than in a plant erected on the ground, on account of lower temperature of panels due to the cooling effect of the water beneath.
Further, the shadowing effect of the solar panels retarded the growth of algae in the water, which reduced clogging in pumping stations and irrigation pumps and also a 1 mw plant saved 9 million litres of water from evaporation.
The Gujarat project is among the seven award-winning initiatives that have been comprehensively replicated by other states.
Gujarat has also replicated three projects of other states, such as Uttar Pradesh’s project to revive a rivulet, Kerala’s e-gram panchayat endeavour and Maharashtra’s skill development programme in Maoist-infested Gadhchiroli district.