KOZHIKODE: In a home-grown engineering success story amidst the flood ravage, one of the largest floating solar power plants in the country at Banasura Sagar dam in Wayanad has managed to survive the extreme conditions in the reservoir during last month’s heavy rains.
KSEB officials said that though they feared that the 500 kWp (kilowatt peak) project floating on 1.25 acres of water surface of the reservoir could get submerged due to the presence of strong waves in the reservoir, the structure has stood its ground and continue to generate electricity.
“We had real concern about the floating solar plant as the waves were as high as 40-50cm, especially on August 8 and 9. But the floating structures have withstood the fury,” said P Manoharan, assistant executive engineer (research and dam safety sub-division) at Banasura Sagar.
Officials of Thiruvananthapuram-based Adtech Systems Ltd, which had implemented the project, said that though the water level variations in the reservoir were above the design parameters of the plant, the anchoring systems ensured that the ferrocement floats and the solar panels installed on top of it were intact.
“The project was designed to withstand the water level variation of up to 20 metres between summer and monsoon in the reservoir. But with the heavy inflow of water to the reservoir, the variation level was up by around four feet above the design parameters. But the system withstood the severe conditions,” said Adtech Systems chairman M R Narayanan.
He attributed it to the innovative design along with the sturdy anchoring system which had eight concrete anchors weighing ten tonnes at the bottom of the reservoir bed.
Narayanan said that the patented ferrocement technology used for the floats also overcame the heavy wind and the waves in the reservoir.
“We are now planning to try them out in the islands, especially near Lakshadweep and Andaman Islands which are mostly relying on costly diesel generated power as the design has proved it can withstand severe conditions, even in sea surface,” he added.
The KSEB’s floating solar plant at Banasura was the largest floating solar power plant in the country until August 23 when the 2MW floating solar project commissioned in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh displaced it.
The Banasura Sagar reservoir had been in full reservoir level from July 15 onwards and KSEB had to raise all the four shutters of the dam to record level of 290cm on August 9 following heavy inflow to the earthen dam, causing flooding in many downstream areas.