Tenders: Warming of activity in India's floating solar energy market

Two large scale floating solar tenders with a total capacity of 75 MW have been issued by NHPC and NHDC

New Delhi (Natural Energy News): India's floating solar power market is witnessing a boom in activity in the last two to three months with major tenders being floated by public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Two large scale floating solar tenders have been floated by NHPC and NHDC with a total capacity of 75 MW (MW).

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On 11 August, NHDC issued a 25-MW floating solar tender for the design, engineering, procurement, construction of the project. The contract also included extensive operation and maintenance of the plant which included a 33 kW transmission line and switchyard at Sanwar in Madhya Pradesh.

Similarly, earlier on 30 June, NHPC started an engineering, procurement and construction tender for the 50-MW floating solar power project at West Kallada in Kerala's Kollam district with a deadline to submit bids on 5 September Was.

According to industry analysts, floating solar has emerged as an alternative option for setting up a solar power project and activity is occurring at this location, although selective.

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Director of Renewables at Deloitte - Rajneesh Sharma said, "In the recently issued tenders, we have seen an increase in the capacity size of the project, which is a good sign for the segment."

India has a scale ranging from kilowatt to megawatt scale. Currently, there are more than 1,700 MW of floating solar projects, which are in various stages of development and more are in the pipeline, Ashish Kulkarni, associate partner, business consultancy, EY.

According to Santosh Kamath - partner and leader of alternative energy, KPMG in India, it has huge potential in all our reservoirs and can help save the land.

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Floating solar technology is an option to use solar power in locations that have constraints on land availability. Under this technique, solar panels are mounted on platforms floating on water bodies such as dam reservoirs and lakes.

One of the major drivers of this region is the optimization of unused water bodies for the installation of a floating solar. Experts said that many areas in India face issues of fragmented land holdings and high land costs, encouraging policymakers and utilities to explore the temporary solar segment.

“Attempts are being made to exploit, along with water bodies owned by government agencies, private participation in floating solar projects. Sharma of Deloitte said the section is still in the initial development stage, but if developed, could become a good option for setting up a solar project.

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He said that as the size of the project in the floating solar segment increased, the cost of the project has decreased over the years and it is expected that the project size will continue to grow in the future, which will further increase the financial attractiveness of this segment.

India achieved the lowest investment cost ever for a floating solar project in the world, with developers in a tender for the country's first major tender As low as Rs 35 per watt. 70 MW capacity floating solar plant.

It added that investment costs had fallen over the past two years, with a significant 45 percent drop in costs by 2018.

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The report stated that the major reasons for the cost reduction were the decline in floaters costs as improvements in the manufacturing process, material cost reduction, floaters thickness reduction, and aggressive bidding by project developers have some experience in this area To obtain, the report states.

However, some analysts argue that there is still scope for cost reduction.

“One of the reasons for high project costs for temporary solar is the balance of system costs. There is a lot of scope for cost reduction, especially in the cost of floaters. Sharma said that with the reduction in scale and material costs, we can expect a further reduction in investment costs for floating solar projects.

Floating solar technology has many positives for this. This hydroelectric dam can operate as a hybrid with the reservoir and take advantage of the existing transmission infrastructure available on site. It helps reduce algae growth, island neutral, conserves water through reduced evaporation, is a new source of revenue, leads to less damage, provides ease of cleaning, and an easy installation and deployment process.

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“Depending on the topography, the savings in water loss from floating solar plants can be between 10-20 percent. Further, due to better temperature control, yield or solar generation is slightly higher, ”said Kamath.

According to industry experts, the huge potential for floating solar power in India is good because the country has enough experience to develop ground-mounted solar power projects and states should study their reservoirs to assess feasibility and benefits.

In 2018, the government had set a target of 10 GW of solar PV installations by 2021. While the goal creates an impetus and engagement within the solar sector of India, according to EY Kulkarni, the segment needs a favourable policy framework to tap its potential.

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In India, it is estimated that in states like Kerala, Assam, Odisha, and West Bengal, Mitesh Patel can set up 300 GW of temporary PV power plants using only 10 percent to 15 percent of water bodies. The director of Renewal, Asia and EMEIA at EPC giant Black & Veach was told.

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