A demonstration project involving the installation of a floating solar power station is currently under development by a team led by SP Gon Choudhury, Director at Development Consultants Private Limited (DCL Group) and Vice Chairman at Calcutta Institute of Technology. The prototype involves solar panels and other components that are fitted onto a platform with hollow plastic or tin drums that enable it to float on water. The prototype is said to be able to generate 10 kW of power and will occupy 100 square meters. The project is expected to be commissioned by 2014.
The project is scheduled to be installed in a pond in Victoria Memorial in the city of Kolkata in India. According to the local media "The Hindustan Times", Choudary stated, "Studies have also shown that if the rear surface of solar panels are kept cooler, then their ability to generate power goes up by 16%. As these solar panels would be floating on water, they are expected to stay cool and hence we can generate more power than those set up on land".
The floating solar platform is being funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and is said to be the first of its kind in India. Choudary hopes to expand the scope of the project beyond the park in Kolkata. "We have written to the Victoria Memorial authorities so that their ponds could be utilised for the project. Requests have also been sent to a few other state government agencies and departments so that the water bodies near Patuli and Science City off the EM Bypass could be utilised," Choudary added.
Reservoirs and dams of hydroelectric power stations are also attractive spots for the floating solar power generator. "This would not only help conserve water for the dry seasons when power generation goes down because of lack of water but would also help us generate extra power – solar and hydro from a single station," he added.