Pun­jab, Andhra Take a Cue from Gu­jarat for So­lar Canal Projects

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Aman.Sharma @times­group.com

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.

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