SPIC to set up floating solar plant in Tuticorin

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Fertilisers and chemicals major SPIC is working on setting up a 24-MW floating solar power plant.

The idea is to put up the plant in a large water reservoir the company has within its precincts.

This was revealed in a conference on ‘Climate change mitigation in manufacturing industries’, which was held here recently by the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), an industry body, in collaboration with Aspiration Energy, a Chennai-based renewable energy company.

Intervening in the conference, J Koteeswaran, an engineer with EDAC Engineering Ltd, a company of the SPIC group, mentioned the group’s plans for setting up a floating solar plant. When BusinessLineasked Koteeswaran for details, he refused to divulge any because he was not authorised to speak to the Press.

However, it is learnt that the plant would be owned by AM International Holdings, the Singapore-based parent company of SPIC.

EDAC Engineering will provide the services of building the floating solar plant. AM International will sell most of the power generated by the solar plant to SPIC, though a part of the generation will be sold to the state-owned electricity distribution company.

Sources also said that a European bank, with headquarters in France, would provide the debt for the floating solar plant. Foreign equity investment was also hinted at, but details are not available as yet.

Floating solar plants are slowly but steadily gaining popularity. These barge-mounted plants have the advantage of not requiring land. The water below keeps the panels cool, enhancing their performance (heat depresses electricity generation by solar modules.)

Till date, the biggest floating solar plant is the one in the reservoir of the Yamakura dam in Japan, owned by the Japanese company Kyocera. However, many entities, including quite a few in India, have plans.

Kerala has a 500-kW floating solar plant, while Andhra Pradesh has the biggest in the country. There have been reports that the Andhra Pradesh government is working on having 100 MW of floating solar power plants, while Maharashtra has expressed an ambition for 1,200 MW.

The country has a large potential for floating solar plants, so much so that the entire 100 GW ambition of the government can entirely come on water. The country has close to 5,000 large dams, whose reservoirs spread over nearly 13,000 sq km.

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