11 Jan 2022

NHPC Signs Deal for 500MW Floating Solar in India

11 Jan 2022  by   

Indian hydropower company NHPC Limited has signed a promoters agreement with Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd. (GEDCOL) to develop 500MW of floating solar projects on a variety of water bodies in Odisha, India.

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The formal agreement was signed on 4 January 2022, after a memorandum of understanding was signed in July 2020.

Under the agreement, NHPC and GEDCOL will jointly establish a company to develop the 500MW of capacity as well as other possible projects. The equity shareholding of NHPC and GEDCOL in the proposed joint venture company will be 74:26.

In the first stage, 300MW of floating solar capacity would be installed in the reservoir associated with the 250 MW Rengali hydroelectric project on the Brahmani River. This phase is expected to cost more than INR20 billion ($268.8 million) and generate about 600MW of energy per year.

NRPC said it would be the first of its kind in Odisha and the largest in the country so far. The project will help the state meet its renewable energy generation target and purchase obligation, in addition to creating investment and employment opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said in 2020 that hybrid systems of floating solar panels and hydropower plants may hold the technical potential to produce a significant portion of the electricity generated annually across the globe. NREL researchers estimated that adding floating solar panels to bodies of water that already host hydropower stations could provide as much as 7.6 TW of capacity a year from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems alone.

NREL estimated that almost 380,000 freshwater hydropower reservoirs across the planet could host floating PV sites combined with existing hydropower facilities.

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