India to build the world’s largest floating solar power plant
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Indian electricity company Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited (RUMSL) will build the world's largest floating solar power plant (SPP), which will be of 600 MW capacity, The Economic Times reports. The project, which is estimated to be worth ₹3,000 crores ($468 million) will be implemented at the Omkareshwar reservoir located in Madhya Pradesh state, central India.

The photo is sourced from swarajyamag.com

The project called Omkareshwar Floating Solar will be implemented in two phases. First, three contractors – AMP Energy, NHDC, SJVN – will commission three units of a floating SPP with a total capacity of 278 MW. After that, RUMSL will select the contractors for the second phase, during which the power plant’s capacity would increase by more than 300 MW.

The new power plant is not the first project of a floating SPP in India. A month ago, India’s NTPC completed installation of 100 MW solar panels on the surface of the Ramagundam reservoir, Telangana state, the south of the country. The power plant area is 600 acres (243 hectares). As part of the reservoir is hidden from sunlight, the project will reduce evaporation losses by 70% and save 2 billion water per year. Earlier, NTPC has implemented similar projects in states Andhra Pradesh (25 MW) and Kerala (92 MW).

Incentive to increase capacities of SPPs is their higher cooling efficiency than the one of onshore solar panels. “The main cooling mechanism for solar panels is convection, and the air currents above the water are generally cold, which keeps low the panels’ temperature, thereby increasing their efficiency and, as a result, energy production,” Professor Hesan Ziar of Delft Technical University told the Global Energy. According to him, fewer thermal cycles are also an advantage. “Imagine a solar panel installed in a desert. It’s quite warm in the daytime and cold at night there. Such a thermal cycle shortens panel’s life. On the other hand, water acts as a huge heat sink, hence the power plant is not subject to this effect.”

India is one of the world leaders in development of the solar power industry. The country commissioned 10.3 GW of photovoltaic panels in 2021, which is comparable to the volume of all operating SPPs in Africa (11.4 GW, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency).

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