NTPC Kayamkulam will install a floating solar photovoltaic power plant of 100 kWp (kilowatt peak) on the premises of the thermal power plant there. The project has received approval and the work will start soon. The plant will be set up at the lake adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Project, operating on naphtha. The solar panels will be mounted on floaters. The company is in possession of over 1,100 acres of land at its project site, which includes waterbodies suitable for setting up a floating solar project. The company had already commissioned a floating solar power project of 5 kWp on a trial basis and found it successful, company sources told The Hindu . The company had set up a 10 kWp solar project a few months ago. Of this, 5 kWp project was set up on the land in order to have a comparative analysis. A solar rooftop power project of 84 kWp is already in operation. Another roof top solar project is on the anvil.
The floaters, made of non-corrosive material, for fitting the solar panels, were developed by the NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance (NETRA), the research wing of NTPC, in collaboration with the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET). The panels were manufactured at Radiant Solar Company at Fabcity, Hyderabad. Scientific studies have proved that floating solar panels generate higher output due to lower ambient temperature existing on the surface of the waterbody. This apart, evaporation of water from the lake will be minimal as the surface is covered by solar panels. The cost of the pilot project was around Rs.1 lakh per kWh.
The NTPC thermal power plant of 359 MW is running on naphtha. The machinery at the plant has been modified to receive natural gas as an alternative fuel, but lack of gas connectivity and issues pertaining to pricing of liquefied natural gas have resulted in uncertainty over natural gas based power generation. High cost of naphtha has led to higher cost in power generation. Successive State governments have not been keen on buying power at the offered rates. Consequently, the plant has been getting orders for power generation only for a few days annually.