Telangana: India’s biggest floating solar power plant

It’s the largest floating solar power project in the country, and perhaps in the world when it is commissioned. The 100MW project, being set up at NTPC Ltd’s Ramagundam thermal power plant reservoir near Peddapalli in Telangana, is slated to be commissioned by May this year.

Coming up at a cost of Rs 423 crore, the project will have 4.5 lakh photovoltaic panels floating on a 450-acre area on the reservoir, with room for further capacity addition in the future, NTPC officials said.

The world’s largest floating solar power plant to be mooted so far is the 600MW project to be set up on the Omkareshwar dam on river Narmada in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh. However, this Rs 3,000 crore power project will commence power generation only by 2022-23.

The largest dam-based floating power project in the world (41MW) is coming up at Hapcheon dam in South Korea, even as Singapore has taken the plunge with a 5MW floating solar project in Johor Strait off its coast.

NTPC regional executive director (south) C V Anand said the Ramagundam floating solar project is part of plans to set up a 217MW floating solar power capacity in south India.

This includes the 25MW, Rs 110 crore floating solar project at NTPC Simhadri spread over 150 acres that will also be commissioned by May 2021 and a 92MW project coming up on the backwaters of Kayamkulam in Kerala’s Alappuzha district.

NTPC already has a 105KW pilot floating solar plant operational at Kayamkulam and a 1MW plant at its Kawas gas-based power plant in south Gujarat.

The floating solar initiative is part of the Maharatna PSE’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and ramp up its green energy generation capacity to around 30% of total capacity.

NTPC sources said the power generation giant plans to replicate these floating solar power projects across all its thermal power plant reservoirs in the country. The Maharatna PSE has a total installed capacity of 64,880MW across 24 coal-based, seven gas-based and over 15 renewable energy projects. This includes 64,080MW that is operational. Another 19,379MW that is under construction.

In the southern region, it has a total installed capacity of 9,125MW across coal, gas and liquid fuel as well as solar power. Anand said that apart from the floating solar projects, NTPC is also setting up a 230MW onground solar power plant at Ettayapuram near Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu that will cater to Telangana. On the underconstruction 1,600MW (2x800MW) Telangana super thermal power plant at Ramagundam, which will be supplying power exclusively to Telangana, Anand said the first phase of 800MW will be commissioned by January 2022.

The project was to be completed in the current financial year but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, adding that the second phase is expected to be commissioned by March 2022.

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