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India has now chosen a developer for one of the largest floating PV projects ever seen in the country, with plans to take the plant to the finish line within two years.
On Thursday, Tata Power Solar announced it has received a letter of award to develop a floating project in the state of Kerala that will boast 70MWac, or 105MWp.
According to Tata, the installation will sit on the Kayamkulam reservoir in the Alappuzha district, a subdivision of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.
The floating project will be rolled out by a fossil fuel installation – the Rajiv Gandhi combined cycle power plant – managed by NTPC, India’s largest utility.
The 70MWac/105MWp solar project must now reach the commission stage “no later” than in 21 months, Tata explained in a statement.
Tata Power Solar CEO Ashish Khanna described the floating contract as a milestone, adding that the new scheme bolsters the firm’s commitment to delivering “complicated projects”.
“Floating solar has immense potential in our country and we will ensure that this project will act as a benchmark,” said Khanna, who is also president of Tata’s broader renewables division.
The world's cheapest floating solar market
In India, the utility giant is not alone in its floating solar ambitions. State-run solar corporation SECI is eyeing a 10GW pipeline over three years and tendered a 250MW batch in Tamil Nadu in March.
At US$0.83/MW to US$0.92/MW, India was singled out by the World Bank last year as the world's cheapest floating PV market, while Japan was priciest at US$3.12 per megawatt.
The global sector counted 1.1GW in installed capacity as of last November, and has since witnessed the advent of new projects in Asia but also Europe, America and the Middle East.
The accelerating roll-out is fueling industry debate and research into the merits of various floating designs, with the frontrunners competing for attention at this year’s Intersolar.
The PV IndiaTech 2020 conference will continue to bring together all key domestic and overseas stakeholders, including government bodies, investors, and the leading companies today from manufacturing to O&M and asset management. To thrive globally as a major PV power beyond 2020, India has to succeed in unlocking its potential both to manufacture and to lay claim to quality utility-scale solar farms that are providing high returns on investment to site owners.