The state power generation utility issued two tenders last week seeking bids to prepare detailed project reports on generating power using solar panels atop water bodies.The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (Mahagenco) has decided to step up solar power generation using the water bodies with the water resources department and local self-governing bodies.Mahagenco officials are working out the revenue-sharing model with the government agencies owning the water bodies. “We are replicating the Gujarat model where canals and other water bodies have got the cover of photovoltaic cells, which are not only generating power but also contributing to decrease evaporation of water under the panels by cutting out the direct sun rays during the peak time (noon),” a senior official from Mahagenco, Mumbai office said.
The Mahagenco is planning to tap all the land parcels available with public agencies, including huge lakes, reservoirs and canals of the water resources department (WRD), to generate 1,250 megawatt (MW) power.”Recently, we floated two tenders inviting bids to prepare detailed project reports for engineering, procuring and construction of the project to generate 1,250 MW power through solar energy. One tender relates to the use of reservoirs and canals with the water resources department and the other involves lakes and other water bodies with the local self-governing bodies,” the official added.The official added that they do not intend to invest in land and instead want to use the property available with the government agencies and generate power on revenue sharing basis.
Mahagenco’s ambitious project involves trapping at least 2,500 MW power using the solar panels, of which, over 20% can be trapped using the water sources across the state.The dams and canals are boon for the company to trap the solar power as they are not covered.Besides, canals have very good penetration in remote areas. The power generated from the system can be uploaded to the grid at the various places so that the load distribution and power availability is maintained.”This strategy of using the WRD places is multi-pronged – given that there will not be any land acquisition and no opposition from the citizens. It will also contribute towards cutting down the rate of water evaporation and hence, it is a win-win situation for everybody,” the official added.
The villages and other local self-governing bodies also stand to benefit from this project of generating solar power. The villages with all the resources could harness the power and sell it to the state electricity distribution company (MSEDCL) or enter in a pact with the Mahagenco, which would take care of the bills and get better power availability.”The net-metering policy of the energy department is a boon for the villages or local self-governing bodies. They can generate power in day and upload it on the grid without worrying about storage and then draw the power from the grid in the evening. The balance in the units will be settled on monthly basis. This brings down the cost per unit for generation of power and importantly, the villagers will be able to clear off the energy bills, thus bringing down the losses in the region and also improve in availability of power,” the official pointed out.