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Floating Solar Energy – The Next Big Driver for Renewable Energy in India

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The floating solar energy technology has been making huge leaps in cost reduction and technology improvement in the last couple of years, mostly under the radar of investors and consumers. The technology has become quite mature with large floating solar power plants being built across Asia, with China, as usual, leading the way.

Depending on the location, the solar power plant built on water now costs only 10-25% higher than that of a solar power plant which is built on the land. This means that floating solar power has also become competitive with that of fossil fuels given that land-based solar power costs only INR 2.5/kWh these days. The advantage of floating solar power is that it generates higher power due to the cooling effect of water and also prevents evaporation leading to water saving. Indian states have jumped on the bandwagon and Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, etc. are well on their way of developing large scale floating power plants on reservoirs in their respective areas.

Floating solar power has come up in a huge way in the last few years as there are issues in finding land to build large scale ground-mounted utility solar plants. This is especially true in land scarce geographies such as islands. India has also seen the prices of land double as landowners are opportunistically raising the prices. Every major country has huge water bodies which can be easily be utilized to develop solar power. India was one of the first countries to see the opportunity of developing solar power plants on the water with a policy to support the development of solar power on canals. Large reservoirs of water near hydro and thermal power plants are a perfect place to build solar power plants as they can utilize the existing transmission infrastructure near these plants to evacuate solar power. This reduces the cost for the solar power generation and also reduces the cost of building new infrastructure which may also be difficult.


Also, read Can Floating Solar Plants Meet the Industrial Power Demand in West Bengal?

While the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has planned for a 10 GW capacity by 2022, this capacity can go up much higher as analysts have estimated that India can build 300 GW of solar capacity if it uses just 10-15% of its water resources for developing solar power plants. Like on land, solar is likely to beat wind on water as well. Offshore wind energy has been slow to get off blocks in India due to numerous challenges in regulations, policy, and infrastructure. Also, the costs for developing offshore wind energy are much higher than land-based wind energy. It seems likely that floating solar power will outshine offshore wind power in the future.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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