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Photo voltaic PV on canals and water our bodies


Photo voltaic PV vegetation with a complete of 8,000-megawatt capability are projected to be put in in Pakistan by the yr 2030.

Primarily based on a typical plant of 50MW, it will imply 160 photo voltaic PV vegetation. Photo voltaic PVs are finest put in close to the purpose of consumption to avoid wasting value, transmission belongings and losses.

Though photo voltaic PV is an answer promising self-sufficiency in power ultimately, it’s land intensive. The danger is that it might divert helpful land away from necessary makes use of like agriculture, housing, and many others. Additionally, the land close to power customers is often costly, inflicting improve in photo voltaic power value.

Thus, any answer that avoids this land diversion could also be welcome. Photo voltaic-on-water (SoW)/ Photo voltaic-on-canals and different water our bodies match adequately on this context.

SoW additionally reduces water evaporation losses. We’ll talk about right here the scope and potential of this convenient know-how within the context of Pakistan.

Pakistan is amongst 36 water-stressed international locations of the world with the bottom annual precipitation of 464 mm in South Asia, which is simply one-third to one-fourth of the corresponding common determine in South Asia.

Additionally per capita water availability has been taking place by the day and it might attain a low of 500 cubic metres per yr by 2025, which might classify Pakistan right into a water-scarce nation.

The one technique to improve internet water provide is to extend water effectivity, which includes lowering water leakages and losses, and growing productiveness.

Water productiveness in Pakistan can also be low at one-third of India. Water losses are additionally excessive. There are two main sources of water losses – evaporation and conveyance losses.

Evaporation and related losses in Pakistan have been estimated at 15 million acre toes (MAF) as towards whole water provide of 193 MAF (there could also be some variance in knowledge relying on the information yr and supply).

Water loss discount needs to be a significant goal if water availability is to be elevated.

Pakistan has one of many largest canal irrigation techniques. Water our bodies like dam reservoirs and canals are the primary sources of evaporation losses. If these water our bodies are coated from solar, evaporation losses could be minimised.

Floating photo voltaic and canal-top photo voltaic PVs are two technological mechanisms to attain this.

Pakistan has many main reservoirs/ dams like Tarbela and Mangla and several other others like Bhasha, Munda, and many others are beneath planning. Floating photo voltaic PV could be put in on the floor of those water our bodies.

There was a World Financial institution undertaking to put in floating photo voltaic PV on the Tarbela reservoir, which has remained unimplemented for fairly a while. Reportedly, it’s now beneath implementation.

The salient options of Pakistan’s irrigation system are three main storage reservoirs, particularly, Tarbela and Chashma on the Indus River, and Mangla on the Jhelum River; 19 barrages; 12 inter-river hyperlink canals and 43 impartial irrigation canal instructions.

The overall size of most important canals is 62,648 km with the sphere ditches working one other 1.6 million km. Assuming 1 km per MW solar-on-canal, the theoretical electrical energy potential seems to be 62,640 MW.

It may be twice that quantity as properly. Assuming 10% utilisation, the minimal precise potential could also be 6,240MW or extra. Potential seems to be very giant.

Theoretically, all necessities of land could be met by putting photo voltaic on canals and water our bodies. For a wide range of constraints, nonetheless, all of this potential can’t be utilised neither is there any want to take action.

First floating plant

Greater than 35 international locations at the moment have an estimated 350 floating techniques, although most up to now are small, with a complete capability of two.6GW. The world’s first floating photo voltaic plant was inbuilt Japan, in Aichi Prefecture in central Honshu.

The nation’s many inland lakes and reservoirs at the moment are dwelling to 73 of the world’s 100 largest floating photo voltaic vegetation and account for half of these vegetation’ 246 megawatts of photo voltaic capability.

The most important undertaking at the moment beneath method is in South Korea, with a deliberate capex of $4 billion on a 2.1GW set up to be operational by 2025. It’s 14 instances the scale of the 150MW Huainan photo voltaic farm in Korea itself, at the moment the most important operational floating photo voltaic farm on this planet.

Within the US, California is growing a photo voltaic PV on canal system. California has an arid local weather and has a well-developed irrigation system ala South Asia.

A 2.1GW solar-on-canals undertaking is at a complicated stage of implementation there. Admittedly, there may be nonetheless wait and see perspective in different jurisdictions.

There are a number of benefits of canal photo voltaic. Firstly, in any other case useable agricultural land is saved; secondly, it saves land value which saving, though, is neutralised by larger metal construction value; thirdly, electrical energy is produced close to the agricultural and rural customers which, in any other case, might not get entry to electrical energy resulting from being off the grid; fourthly, transmission and distribution value is lowered involving low voltage grid; fifthly, there may be water effectivity within the sense that water is obtainable within the canals for laundry photo voltaic panels and the surplus overflow water is recycled again to the canal with none formal preparations; sixthly, electrical energy is drawn at an interval of brief distances by putting in comparatively smaller inverters at brief distances; and at last, there may be cooling close to the photo voltaic PV panels resulting from water atmosphere which will increase power yield by 1-2%.

Floating photo voltaic PV on water reservoirs/ dams gives further benefits of hybridising with hydropower and smoothing energy provides. Additionally, co-utilisation of the transmission services of hydro vegetation can also be made accessible.


There could also be some limitations as properly. Canal orientations might not enable southward orientation. Some canals will not be lined requiring annual cleansing which might prohibit installations in such circumstances.

A parallel street might should be offered to help upkeep actions. All of those have a tendency to extend value or have an effect on effectivity.

Floating energy plant had been conceived by Wapda in 2015 to be put in on Tarbela reservoir beneath a World Financial institution technical help progamme for Tarbela extension.

The places record was later expanded to incorporate Ghazi Barotha, Khanpur Dam and Attock. Lately, EOI have been invited for consultancy (design and building supervision) of 300MW energy plant undertaking.

Pakistan’s goal for photo voltaic by 2030 is round 8,000MW. It seems that relying upon location points and land costs, solar-on-canals might have a market potential of 1,000MW by 2030.

It might greater than double within the interval 2030-2040. The floating photo voltaic on Tarbela reservoir is beneath implementation which can function a mannequin plant in its class, a mannequin solar-on-canal plant can also be constructed to evaluate the feasibility on this class. This work ought to allow GOP to develop a coverage on this respect.

It seems that solar-on-water is an thought whose time has arrived after a protracted wait-and-see perspective. Pakistan seems to be on monitor for a change.

The author is former member power of the Planning Fee and creator of a variety of books on power sector


Printed in The Specific Tribune, June 13th, 2022.

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