Solar Panels as Canal Tops in India

The State of Gujarat in India is set to potentially use the existing 19,000 km-long network of Narmada river canals across the State for setting up solar panels to generate power.

Why do it on the river canals you ask?

Well, firstly, the canal-top solar power equipment produces 15 per cent more power than the plant set up on land as the water flowing underneath keeps the solar panels relatively cool and helps generate more power. Secondly, because in this hot arid dry land, it will save a lot of water from evaporating. And thirdly, to not use other land which can potentially be used for something else.

The first phase of the project will cover 750 meters of water canal.  It’s estimated that this alone will generate 16 megawatts of electricity annually and prevent nine million liters of water from evaporating from the canal per year.

If even 10 per cent of the 19,000 km-long Narmada canal network in Gujarat is used for setting up canal-top solar panels, it has the potential to produce 2,200 MW of solar power, save 11,000 acres of land that would otherwise be used and prevent 20 billion liters of water per year from evaporation annually, the Chief Minister Of Gujrat, Mr Narendra Modi, said.

Gujrat has over 2,965 acres, rows of photovoltaic cells or solar panels laid out across the state to harness the sun. They are generating 214 MW of electricity every day out-performing China's 200 MW Golmund Solar park. Gujarat invests nearly Rs 2,000 crore an year on renewable energy which has attracted investments of Rs 9,000 crore so far on solar energy projects. The land prices there have also shot up.