Monday, December 15, 2014: The Government of India has formally approved the setting up of solar power plants on top of canals as well as on their banks across India, with the sanctioned sum of Rs. 2280 million. The amount will support the government’s plan to establish 100MW of capacity on canal banks and canal tops by 2017.
The total cost estimated by the government for setting up 100 MW of canal bank and canal top solar power plants was Rs 9750 million and the subsidies to be provided for this would be Rs 2280 million.
At present, there are only two canal top solar power projects in India, both on the Narmada canal. The main aim behind the scheme was to make complete use of the underutilised areas on top of the canals, in a lucrative manner. This might also involve the vacant government land along the banks of canals, wherever available for setting up solar power generation plants for feeding the generated power to the grid.
The project would also help the states to meet their renewable purchase obligation (RPO) mandates, and perhaps would also provide opportunity to local population. Under this scheme, the subsidy of Rs 30 million per MW or 30 per cent of the project cost (whichever remains lower) would be provided for canal top projects. Whereas Rs 15 million per MW or 30 per cent of the project cost (whichever is lower) would be given for a canal bank project.