Furthering efforts to promote solar energy, Telangana State might allow solar power developers to set up panels on water bodies and wet lands, said a top official. “The State got a proposal from French company to set up panels on the water bodies. We are in negotiating with the irrigation department on this proposal as most of the water bodies are under it,” said Ajay Mishra, Telangana energy department special chief secretary. “They should be setting up a pilot project at a water body that is mutually acceptable to the company and to the irrigation department. We will do a demonstration through the pilot and later scale it up based on the results,” the official told Telangana Today on the sidelines of an Assocham event.
Similar efforts are underway in West Bengal, Kerala and Gujarat and some others States in India. Typically, land requirement for solar projects is high and installing them on water bodies will reduce the demand to that extent. The energy department is also got a suggestion from industry to allow panels on wetlands, he said. “There is nothing concrete on this suggestion. However, we would be open to such ideas where there are irrigation canals,” Mishra said. “Telangana is catching up the imagination of solar energy investors. But I would say that people should catch up the imagination of setting up solar roof top projects and we are working on popularising that,” the official said.
“We are talking to bankers and we will be coming up with the concept of free solar power for rooftops next month. Already rooftop solar power generation for 48 MW has been set up in the State.” Telangana now has 1,070 MW solar power commissioned and connected to the grid. By the end of this year, another 2,000 MW in the pipeline would be available to the grid, said energy department special chief secretary Ajay Mishra. Bids for these have been called in 2014 and 2015. All but one project of 2014 bids are commissioned. For bids called in 2015, the commercial date of operation is from February through August. “We will have a relook at the solar sector in August once all the projects are commissioned. It can be about new technology, new policy or new bids,” he said. In next two to three years, Telangana will be adding a minimum 5,000 MW solar power in the State, he said.