The company has already obtained an approval from India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to build 990 megawatts (MW) out of the projected 2 GW. The project might involve the participation of the solar company NTPC Renewable Energy, which in 2022 brought into operation a 100 MW floating SPP in a reservoir located in the city of Ramagundam in the southern state of Telangana: under the project operator’s estimates, solar panels placed above water over an area of 243 hectares would reduce the evaporation loss by 70%, thereby saving 2 billion m3 of water per year. Earlier, NTPC Renewable Energy implemented similar projects with capacities of 92 MW and 25 MW in the states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.
As Hesan Ziar, Professor at the Delft University of Technology, said in an interview with the Global Energy Association, higher efficiency of power generation is a key advantage floating SPPs have over their onshore counterparts: “The main cooling mechanism for solar panels is convection, and the air currents above the water are generally cold, which keeps low the temperature of the panels, thereby increasing their efficiency and, as a result, energy production.” A smaller number of thermal cycles is also an advantage, he says. “Imagine a solar panel installed in a desert. It’s quite warm in the daytime and cold at night there. This thermal cycle shortens a panel’s life. On the other hand, water acts as a huge heat sink, hence the power plant is not subject to this effect.”
According to Global Energy Monitor, a total of 464 floating and ground-mounted SPPs with an overall capacity of 37.8 GW were operating in India by January 2023, with 13 SPPs totaling 2.8 GW under construction and another 91 SPPs totaling 32.9 GW in the pre-investment phase.