The project will be a “step” toward emphasizing renewables development over thermal power generation, the Cabinet of Ministers said in an online statement.
The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy — in cooperation with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research — now has the go-ahead to accept competitive bids from international developers.
The array will cover less than 4% of the surface area of the Maduru Oya Reservoir in North Central province.
Floating PV has steadily grown as a small but important niche segment of the solar market in recent years.
In early 2015, Kolkata-based Vikram Solar finished India’s first floating PV array. The 10 kWp research project was built to determine the scalability of floating applications in the country.
Germany’s KfW Development Bank agreed in early 2016 to provide funding for 40 MW of floating solar capacity in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Kerala.
But thus far, Japan has been at the forefront of floating PV development, with several small projects already connected to the grid. Japanese PV module manufacturer Kyocera expects to complete a 13.7 MW floating solar project near Tokyo next year.