A state-run agency in Maharashtra has come up with a plan to install solar panels in the backwater of two dams to generate electricity.
Jayakwadi dam, located in Aurangabad district of Central Maharashtra, and Ujani dam in Solapur district of Western Maharashtra, will be the sites of the solar power generation project, an official said.
The Marathwada Statutory Development Corporation (MSDC), a body formed by the state government, has come up with a plan to erect floating solar panels in the backwater of the two dams falling under its jurisdiction.
A study in this regard is in an advanced stage at the Ujani dam, while the Jayakwadi dam was later added to the project, he said.
“The Jayakwadi dam, like Ujani, has widespread backwater, which can be used for installing floating solar panels for power generation.
“There is ample free space at the tail-end of the dam, which we are planning to use for (erecting) solar panels,” Bhagwat Karad, chairman of MSDC, told agencies.
Located in Marathwada, the Jayakwadi dam, built on the Godavari river, is located near the Aurangabad city and is a key source of water to the arid region.
The Ujani dam, built on the Bhima river, is located in Madha tehsil of Solapur district. It is the state’s largest dam in terms of water storage capacity.
“Ujani and Jayakwadi dams come under the corporation’s jurisdiction. We have decided to seriously pursue the concept and come up with practical plans for setting up solar panels,” Karad said.
Asked what prompted the corporation to use backwater space of dams for setting up solar panels, he said, “Similar projects are in operation in Kerala and West Bengal. Maharashtra also has widespread dams such as Ujani and Jayakwadi, which are under my jurisdiction. I have asked officials concerned to conduct a study on possibility of setting up solar panels on dam water.”
The corporation has held talks with private companies to find out if they are willing to invest in this project and operate such facilities, Karad said.
“A meeting with officials from the state water resources and electricity departments took place recently in Aurangabad to discuss the proposed project. We also held talks with some private companies which are willing to invest in this project and operate it,” he said.
Such projects will reduce the government’s dependence on acquiring land, which is a long-drawn process, for setting up solar power plants, the official said.
“The biggest relief is availability of space for setting up solar plants. If similar solar panels are to be deployed on land, then acquisition for such projects would have taken longer time.
“Here, it is just an inter-departmental issue and panels have to be set up and operated within the joint framework of the WRD (water resources department and the state-run power generation company,” he said.
Another official said Marathwada is a suitable region for harnessing solar energy, a clean source of power.
“Marathwada has higher solar radiation, which is good for setting up solar panels. All we need to study is the up and down movement of water (in dams) during the year and operate panels after ensuring they don’t get damaged,” said the official from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd.