The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is set to embark on a feasibility study for a groundbreaking 130-megawatt (MW) floating solar power plant on Dumbur Lake in Tripura’s Gomati district. This initiative aims to significantly bolster the state’s renewable energy capacity. Over the past five years, Tripura has already witnessed a commendable increase in solar power generation, surging from 4.07 MW to 7.21 MW.
The Tripura Renewable Energy Development Agency (TREDA) has joined hands with NTPC, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the feasibility study for this remarkable floating power plant. Notably, NTPC has already successfully implemented a 100-MW floating solar power project in Ramagundam, Telangana.
The study will primarily focus on assessing the area of the water body required for the plant, identifying local transfer stations, and obtaining forest clearances, as this project marks the state’s inaugural foray into renewable energy production. Debabrata Sukladas, Joint Director of TREDA, expressed confidence that the feasibility study, projected to cost Rs 450 crore, will be completed within the next few months.
The proposed 130-MW floating power plant assumes great significance in Tripura’s ambition to generate 200 MW of solar energy by 2030. The state boasts a remarkable solar energy potential of 2080 MW, and various entities including TREDA, Tripura State Electricity Corporation (TSECL), and the Tripura Power Generation Company are committed to harnessing this potential to its fullest.
Moreover, TREDA has initiated a process to provide solar power to interior tribal habitations where conventional power supply is not economically viable. Currently, 17 tribal habitations have already been equipped with solar microgrids, and work is underway to bring solar power to an additional 50 habitations, at a cost of Rs 5.70 crore. Furthermore, the central government has granted preliminary approval for a Rs 80 crore project that aims to extend solar power coverage to 274 habitations.
The floating solar power plant offers several advantages, including minimal land requirements and reduced evaporation rates from water bodies, thereby aiding water conservation efforts. Additionally, the implementation of the PM-KUSUM scheme in rural areas of Tripura has successfully provided assured irrigation to farmers. So far, 1,659 solar-operated pumps have been installed at a cost of Rs 112 crore. The PM-KUSUM scheme aligns with India’s commitment to increase the share of non-fossil fuel-based installed capacity to 40 percent by 2030.
The implementation of the PM-KUSUM scheme has significantly enhanced crop productivity, as farmers now enjoy reliable irrigation, addressing a long-standing challenge they faced for several years, as highlighted by the official.