Reservoirs with a cumulative (surface) area of 18,000 square kilometers in India have the potential to generate 280 GW of solar energy through floating solar photovoltaic, a report has said. The report ‘Floating Solar Photovoltaic (FSPV): The Third Pillar to Solar PV Sector?’ has been produced by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as part of Energy Transmission Commission (ETC) India.
A new report by TERI has found that India’s reservoirs have 18,000 sq km of the area with the potential to generate 280 GW of solar power through floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, TERI said in a statement. ETC India is a research platform based in TERI, New Delhi. It is the Indian chapter of the global Energy Transitions Commission. The findings of the report, which was released during the recently held World Sustainable Development Summit 2020, have the potential to help in planning out strategies for achieving overall capacity addition in solar energy in India.
The report has calculated the potential for floating solar photovoltaics (FSPVs), or ‘floatovoltaics’, on the basis of 30 per cent of the water surface area of the country’s medium and large reservoirs. The report provides state-wise details of floating solar potential in the form of a web-based interactive tool called India Floating Solar PV-Tool, which has also been developed under this study.
According to its findings, Maharashtra has the highest floating solar potential and can generate 57,891 MW of electricity on 3,173 sq km of water surface area in reservoirs. At present, ground-based installations form 93.1 percent of India’s grid-connected solar PV sector.
The installation cost of utility-scale solar PV in the country has reduced by 84 percent between 2010 and 2018, making India the country with the lowest installation cost for utility-scale solar PVs. However, it said solar PV deployment is quite land-intensive and scaling up projects requires large chunks of contiguous land parcels, which has its own set of challenges.
In order to keep the pace of development commensurate with India’s national targets for solar capacity additions, alternatives such as floating solar need to be explored and established, it said. The report estimates that global annual capacity addition from floating solar may rise to 4.6 GWp by 2022 from 1.314 GWp in 2018. Currently, China is the leading international market followed by Japan and South Korea for floating solar.