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Govt opts to promote floating solar plants

Four cos seek approval for 300 MW generating stations

Published : 03 Jul 2022 10:26 PM

Four private companies are seeking state approval to install floating solar power plants having a total estimated capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) at different places in the country. 

According to a Power Division official, New Age Limited wants to install a 200MW floating solar power plant at ‘Jhanpa & Khajura Baor’ of Jeshore district. To this end, the company has submitted a proposal to the Power Division, which is now under processing for approval.

Another private company, Total eren BRIGHTNIGHT is seeking state approval to invest to develop a floating solar PV power project over two waterbodies owned by state-owned Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited in Barapukuria. Power Secretary on April 06, signed the expression of interest of the company. 

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted a feasibility study of the site. They determined that a floating solar power plant with 40 MW to 50 MW capacity could be set up there.

Barapukuria Coal Mining Co. officials have noted that four other companies also expressed interest in developing the site.

Sources at BCMCL said there are around 300 acres of land at the Barapukuria that have turned into a big lake after coal extraction in the underground method of mining.

Shomei Group submitted a proposal to the Power Division to implement a floating solar power project on the surface of Kaptai Lake in the Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) area. 

Sources said, as per the primary plan, a 50MW floating solar project will be implemented on a pilot basis on Kaptai Lake. If the Kaptai Lake solar project succeeds, similar projects will be implemented both in the public and private sectors.

Smbior Solar Siam Ltd submitted an expression of interest to the Power Division to implement a 10MW solar power project. The Secretary of the Power Division on June 21 signed the proposal, which is now under processing for further steps.  

Besides, the government is considering the implementation of another 30MW floating solar project in the canal of the Teesta Water Barrage area, they mentioned.

According to the official sources, the recent success of Japan, China, India, Germany, France, and other countries in floating solar projects prompted the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) to move for such green projects.

The country’s first floating solar power plant of 10 kilowatt capacity has been commissioned at Mongla under Bagerhat district recently.

The Solar EPC Development Ltd, a local company, installed the facility with technical assistance from its Indian business partner at Mongla port municipality water treatment site.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mongla port municipality in June 2019 for the development of a total of 15 megawatt floating solar power plants in the pond of the municipality.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that the government is exploring options like rooftop and floating solar power plants as alternatives to land-based ones due to scarcity of land.   

He said it is not possible to set up land-based large-scale solar plants as lands are being used for agriculture and other necessary purposes.

Japan was the first country to install a floating solar power plant in 2006 in Chiba by a French firm, while China is now the leader in setting up the largest floating solar power plant of 40MW capacity in Huainan city of its Anhui province.

So far, the officials said, a number of floating solar power plants have been set up in 12 countries and the idea is gaining popularity because of land scarcity.

Among the Asian nations, India and China have taken up aggressive moves to set up floating solar plants.