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India’s Largest Floating Solar Power Project

Context: 

Recently, the final 20 MW of the 100 MW Ramagundam floating solar PV project’s commercial operation date was recently announced.

  • With this, the 100 MW Ramagundam floating solar PV project in Telangana is declared operational from 1st July 2022.
  • It is the largest project of its kind in India.

Relevance:

GS III- Renewable energy, Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are Floating Solar Panels?
  2. Key Highlights of Ramagundam Project
  3. Environment Benefits of the Project
  4. Challenges

What are Floating Solar Panels?

  • These are platforms with photovoltaic (PV) modules attached on them that float on lakes, reservoirs, and, under the right circumstances, oceans and seas. The majority of the time, these platforms are moored on calmer bodies of water, including ponds, lakes, or reservoirs.
  • These systems don’t require land levelling or vegetation removal, are relatively quick to build, and operate quietly.

Key Highlights of Ramagundam Project

  • It is endowed with advanced technology and Environment-friendly features.
  • The project spreads over 500 acres of the reservoir. Divided into 40 blocks, each having 2.5 MW.
  • Each block consists of one floating platform and an array of 11,200 solar modules.
  • The solar modules are placed on floaters manufactured with HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) material.
  • The entire floating system is anchored through special HMPE (High Modulus Polyethylene) rope to the dead weights placed in the balancing reservoir bed.
  • This project is unique in the sense that all the electrical equipment including inverter, transformer, HT panel, and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) are also on floating Ferro cement platforms.

Environment Benefits of the Project

  • The least amount of land needed for associated evacuation plans is the most evident benefit from an environmental standpoint.
  • Additionally, the presence of floating solar panels reduces the rate of water evaporation, aiding in water conservation.
  • The water body beneath the solar modules helps to maintain their ambient temperature, hence boosting their efficiency and generation.
  •  Water evaporation of about 32.5 lakh cubic metres per year can be prevented. Similar to how 1,65,000 tonnes of coal use may be reduced annually, 2,10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions can be reduced as well.

Challenges

  • The cost of installing floating solar panels is more than that of a conventional PV system for a number of reasons, including the fact that the technology is still in its infancy and hence necessitates the use of specialist knowledge and tools.
  • Choosing rooftop installation or ground-mounted solar is more practical because many floating solar projects are big-scale and offer electricity to huge communities, businesses, or utility corporations.
  • Understanding the geography of the waterbed and whether it is suitable for setting up float anchors is essential for developing floating solar systems.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB


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