It caters to 2 needs: Generate green energy and promote fish farming under water
Lata Rani, Correspondent
Patna: The first floating solar power plant in Bihar is now ready to illuminate hundreds of backwater villages, which remained neglected so far, across the state. The plant has been built over a large pond located in Darbhanga, a place in northern Bihar’s Mithila region known as the “land of ponds”.
The most intriguing thing about this soon-to-be-commissioned floating power plant is that it will cater to two needs at a time — generating green energy from solar panels fitted above water and promoting fish farming under water. The idea could prove to be a boon in giving a new life to the abandoned water bodies and utilize them for good purposes.
“This is a dream project of chief minister Nitish Kumar. In 2019, the chief minister had a wish to complete the “Niche machhli, upar bijli” (fish farming below and power generation above) project for better management of water bodies. Now, the project has reached fruition,” Bihar minister for water resources development Sanjay Kumar Jha said. The minister described it as a wonderful initiative which will impact the life of coming generations.
Officials said the project was part of government’s efforts to generate mass awareness about opting for green energy to lessen dependence on traditional sources of energy, such as coal-based thermal power. According to them, 4,004 photovoltaic (PV) panels, each capable of generating 500 watt electricity, have been installed in the pond which will generate around 2 megawatt (MW) of green and clean energy.
A power department official said solar panels are required to be installed in some five acres of water body to generate One MW of power. The government was not required to acquire water bodies from private parties since the very pond spread over an area of 10 acres was already available with the state-owned electricity department. Another important benefit of the floating plant, the official explained, is that the accumulated water below will keep cool the fitted solar plates.
The state government is just not satisfied with this lone floating power plant. It is now working overtime to complete another such floating solar plant in Supaul, another north Bihar district bordering Darbhanga. “The works for installing a floating power plant in Darbhanga is complete. Now we are readying another such plant in neighbouring Supaul district which will be ready by March this year,” state power secretary Sanjeev Hans told the media.
The Bihar government is also working to illuminate the rural roads with solar lights as quickly as possible so as to transform the face of the countryside. Holding a meeting with officials on Thursday, the chief minister ordered them to start working on this project from April 15.
“To begin with, we want to see at least one village council in each of 38 districts fully illuminated with solar lights. This will change the look of villages,” the chief minister announced on Thursday. There are a total of 45,103 villages in Bihar.