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Energy Planet Care

59: Solar farms on canals reduce evaporation and generate power

Problem:

In Gujarat, India, some 9,000,000 litres (2,000,000 imperial gallons; 2,400,000 US gallons) of water would evaporate annually from the Narmada canal network while many of the villages alongside did not have access to electricity.

Solution:

Use the State’s 19,000 km (12,000 mi) long network of Narmada canals across the state for setting up solar panels to generate electricity.


In April 2012, Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, inaugurated a 1 Megawatt (MW) pilot project to be built on the Narmada branch canal near Chandrasan village of Kadi taluka in Mehsana district by SunEdison India.

The project virtually eliminated the requirement to acquire vast tracts of land, limited evaporation of water from the 750 metres (2,460 ft) long canal and providing electricity to a small village of 40 homes with thatched walls and tin roofs.

The system was called canal-top solar.

Its success led to the first large-scale canal-top solar power plant in the Vadodara district of Gujarat in 2015, at a cost of $18.3 million.

Since the first solar canal project, a number of others have been commissioned in India, including a 100MW canal-top solar power project atop the branch canals off the Narmada River, stretching for a distance of 40km, at an estimated cost of 1bn Indian rupees.

Overall, Gujarat has more than 80,000km of canals meandering through the state. According to Gujarat State Electricity Corporation, if 30% of this were converted to canal top solar, 18,000MW of power could be produced, saving 90,000 acres of land.

What you can do: Share this solution in other countries suffering from aridity.

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