Can floating solar panels solve Mumbai's power woes?

Jul 29, 2015, 14:00 IST | Shashank Rao

Sources claim experts have started working on the possibility of generating electricity through solar panels floating on a water body and transmitting it to a grid for distribution across Mumbai

At a time when the entire country is grappling with power shortage, especially in rural areas, tapping into the wide range of renewable sources of energy is the need of the hour.

Representation pic/Thinkstock

Keeping this is mind, Tata Power recently embarked on a year-long project to harvest solar energy by installing floating solar panels on water bodies to generate electricity. The pilot project, which started in July, is being executed at the firm’s hydroelectric power plant in Khopoli.

Sources at Tata Power claimed that experts have started working on the possibility of generating electricity through floating solar panels and transmit it to a grid for distribution across Mumbai. “It is a pilot project, wherein solar panels installed on a water body at Lonavla are generating 13.5 kilowatts of electricity.

We want to ascertain that these panels don’t affect marine life,” said Ashok Sethi, COO, Tata Power. Another official added that the technique of generating power using solar panels kept on water bodies is different from the one implemented on regular solar farms, where panels are arranged in a rectangular manner.

Usually, about 5,000 solar panels on a four-acre plot generate one megawatt of electricity a quantity that is guzzled by huge shopping malls or big housing societies every day.

Did you know?

>> On an average, Mumbai consumes 2,700 MW of electricity a day. But the demand shoots up by another 500 MW during summers 

>> Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) is drafting a new tariff policy, in which the utilisation of solar power is being considered

Rs 6 crore
Approximate cost for generating 1 megawatt of electricity by harvesting solar energy

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