West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited has issued a tender for a 10 MW grid-connected floating solar project to be set up at the Sagardighi Thermal Power Project in Murshidabad. The scope of work includes the design, engineering, manufacturing, procurement, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of projects on a turnkey basis. The selected bidder must also provide five years of comprehensive O&M. The interested bidders are expected to pay an earnest money deposit of Rs 12 million. To be eligible to take part in the competitive bidding process, applicants must have experience of setting up at least one similar solar project of 10 MW or two projects larger than 5 MW in the past seven years. The last date for the submission of bids is April 15, 2020.
India has less than 5 MW of floating solar installed capacity as of March 2020. However, the country has abundant waterbodies in the form of reservoirs inside hydro and thermal power plants as well as a number of lakes and ponds, which present ample opportunities for installing floating solar projects. As per media reports, even if 10-15 per cent of the existing reservoirs and waterbodies are utilised, there will still be a potential to deploy 300 GW of floating solar projects. Apart from offering significant potential to produce electricity, floating solar provides various technical advantages upon installation. Studies have shown that the cooling effect of water on solar modules lowers their temperature, thereby improving the energy yield and potential system efficiency. The lack of obstructions and shading in open waterbodies prevents the formation of hotspots, while less dust reduces soiling losses.