With the success of its pilot project to generate power by installing solar panels atop the Almatti Right Bank Canal (ARBC) in Bagalkot district, the Water Resources department will soon open up select stretches of irrigation channels in Karnataka to replicate the scheme.
It has been over a year since the project, based on the Gujarat model, was implemented. Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, SM Savanagi, executive engineer of the Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited project said it probably is the first of its kind successful project in South India, which will encourage more such.
Under this project, solar panels were installed between the eighth and tenth kilometre of ARBC. Since Vijayapura is known for extreme temperatures, the evaporation rate is also high, so having solar panels along the canal not only reduces evaporation, it also helps in power generation.
The width of the canal top is nine meters with a panel length of 700×12 meters, according to Savanagi. The project was awarded to Sunedison Energy India, Bengaluru.
They are responsible for the maintenance of this project for five years. The project involved the installation of 3,280 solar panels. The panels are fixed on steel structures across the canal. DC power generated from the panels is fed into an inverter placed in a nearby building. The inverter converts the DC power to AC before transmitting it. The project is supplying one MW power to the nearby Rampur substation. The initial plan was to supply power to 12 villages nearby. This power is used to pump water for the left and right irrigation schemes.
Once the production increases, the power would be sold at Rs 3.60 per unit, and an MOU has been signed with the Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited (HESCOM) in this regard. The project was inaugurated on June 9 2015 and about 14 lakh units has been generated so far.
In Ahmedabad, a one megawatt canal-top solar project is in operation and a similar project was implemented in Vijayapura. While the total cost of the Ahmedabad project was Rs 0.17 billion, this project is being implemented at the cost of Rs 0.1143 billion.
It is learnt that the government is now planning to set up a similar unit at the Koppal lift irrigation scheme. This project is likely to generate 10 MW power.
By Baishakhi Dutta