Delhi looks to Gujarat to tap solar energy
While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal often flays the “Gujarat model”, he, however, does not seem to shy away from taking ideas from the BJP-led state.The Delhi government has sent a team of engineers to Gujarat to gain technical expertise on its “canal-top” solar projects.The Aam Aadmi Party government is preparing a proposal wherein it plans to install solar power plants atop major canals in the capital.A pilot project for the same is being chalked out for installation of solar panels on the Supplementary Drain which is maintained by the Flood and Irrigation department.To take this project forward, the Delhi government has sent a three-member team of engineers to Gandhinagar.“The canal-top project in Gujarat is a huge one, we are thinking of a slightly smaller version of the same. To gain in-depth knowledge about the project, officials from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Management Centre (EERM) have been sent on a field trip. They are accompanied by officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE),” said Sukesh Jain, principal secretary (power).According government officials, the 35-kilometre long Supplementary Drain which is the second major drain after the Najafgarh Drain is being considered for the pilot project.“This is because the drain has a large catchment area which ultimately flows into the river Yamuna,” said an official. The drain flows along the Outer Ring Road covering areas like Nangloi, Sultanpur, Rithala, Rohini and so on.“The EERM has conducted a survey on which the proposal will be made. But, a detailed and formal feasibility study will be assigned to a consultant. There is scope of almost 20 MW of solar power generation on the supplementary drain itself,” another official informed.If the pilot project is successful, the government plans to expand it to other drains in the Capital.The team which is being sent for two-days is also going to take a look at the roof-top solar power plants in Gujarat.In 2013, Gujarat was first in the world to have a canal-top solar plant when it installed a 1 MW plant atop a branch of the main Narmada canal at Chandrasan village near Mehsana. Last year, it built another canal-top plant of 10 MW capacity in Vadodara.Going for canal-top solar plants has two major advantages: it is efficient and does not require ‘land’ per se; it also reduces water evaporation from the channels underneath.