State ropes in Chennai-based fi rm for the project, making it the biggest solar site in the country
In order to prevent mass-scale evaporation of water, the state government has given a nod to a proposal that involves setting up floating solar panels on Ujjani Dam that covers a huge area across Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar districts.
Every year, the dam loses over 1.5 TMC water owing to evaporation. Therefore, the state water resources department and the Department of Energy, New and Renewable Energy have tied up with Chennai-based Tech-Federal to set up an energy plant. The solar panels will be set up on a water surface of 4,640 acres. With this project, the state government aims to generate 1,000 megawatt (MW) electricity. This will be first-of-its-kind plant in India and one of the largest in the world.
A senior officer from the Department of Energy, New and Renewable Energy, seeking anonymity, informed, “The first-ofits- kind project will be implemented on Ujjani Dam. The sun rays will generate solar power and it will be linked to the state power grid. While planning this proposal, challenges such as decline in water levels and complete closure of the project during monsoon were considered.”
The solar plant will be set afloat on water to generate power. These panels will be connected to each other to multiply power generation. The power generated through the floating solar panels will be linked with the state power grid owned by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Limited (MSEDCL). The Ujjani Dam is the one of the largest water reservoirs in the state and it fulfils the need of irrigation and drinking water in Pune, Baramati, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Osmanabad and Beed districts. The dam is also known for export of fresh water fish all over the country.
The officer continued, “Tech- Federal is expected to invest Rs 6,300 crore for the project. The project will run for the next 25 years and generate power as well as save over 1.5 TMC water. This will also generate employment for over 5,000 people. As of now, there is a need to acquire land at the bank of the dam. However, the cost will be borne by the company itself.”
As per the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the company, it will sell power at the rate of Rs 3.25 per unit.
Vilas Rajput, chief engineer of state’s water resources department, explained, “Last week, a meeting was held between ministers and representatives of the company. We have given a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the project and now waiting for further development. The dam is located in an area where the temperature is high. This makes it vulnerable to sunlight exposure. Thus, the solar panels will work in our favour and generate a lot of power.”
The dam is located in an area where the temperature is high. This makes it vulnerable to sunlight exposure. Thus, the solar panels will work in our favour and generate a lot of power
— Vilas Rajput, chief engineer, state water resources department