Floating solar as an answer to India’s coal crisis

Raw Water Pond floating PV plant designed and supplied by Ciel & Terre India for SGTPP | 5.5 MWp

“India faces electricity crisis as coal supplies run critically low”

“States Hit by Power Outages as Energy Crisis Starts to Bite”

“Coal crisis: Is India heading for a blackout?”


What is the news all about?

If you’re from the Indian subcontinent, these are the headlines you’ve probably been hearing since the last couple of days. Thermal power plants in the country are running short of coal, creating a crisis, with a fear of blackout. States like Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and the Union territory Delhi are urging their citizens to use electricity sparingly.


The solution?

The coal crisis is nothing but a high alert alarm for the country to switch to renewable energy. The Indian subcontinent with a varied environment and topography is suitable a number for a number of alternative green energy sources like wind, hydro, solar, etc. Unlike thermal power, running out of resource is a near to impossible event with renewable energy.

Green energy produces clean energy that is friendly to the environment.

Though the carbon emissions from India rank 3rd in the global list, the per capita carbon footprint is 60% lesser than the global average 1. By switching to green energy, the country can reduce its carbon footprint to a greater extent.

The country has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030 2. Recently, India achieved its feat of 100 GW. As the 2nd most populated country, there is a high energy demand and scarcity of land. With plenty of water bodies present in the country, floating solar turns out to be a perfect solution to the situation.

The country has already begun its mission in installing floating solar plants on reservoirs, dams, lakes, ponds, etc.


Some good news!

If you are wondering what would happen to the thermal power plants when majority of the energy is produced by renewable resources, we have an answer for that too.

In June 2021, the world’s first floating solar plant in a thermal power plant was commissioned by Sagar Dighi Thermal Power Plant in West Bengal, India on its raw water pond. The floats prevent the water from evaporating and the saved water is used during the cooling process of the energy facility in summer. Similarly, floating solar plants can be installed on abandoned coal pits and mining ponds that are no longer in use. 70 MWp Anhui CECEP floating PV plant installed in China by Ciel & Terre is a perfect illustration: it was installed in a former coal-mining area. Floating solar is a good means to restore areas which do no longer serve their purpose. Plus, with the help of “floatovoltaics” an unusable water body can be converted into an energy and money-yielding source, tending to the electricity needs as well as contributing to the economy.



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