The Indira Gandhi Canal, near Giddarbaha, Punjab.
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The government of Pakistan is planning to build solar plants on top of canals spread across the region of Punjab, which hosts several canal irrigation systems.
The Punjab Power Development Board (PPDB) is currently seeking consultants to conduct a feasibility study for the deployment of solar plants on canals spread across the Gujranwala division, which is an administrative division in northern Punjab; and at the Rakh branch, which is a canal originating from Lower Chenab canal, in Gujranwala, and ending at Samundri, in Faisalabad district.
“Punjab has one of the widest-spread canal network[s] in the region; comprising of lined and unlined channels,” the authority said in the tender document. “Installations of solar PV panels on canal[s] … can avoid [the] use of expensive land for generating environment-friendly power. The generated electricity can be used by nearby localities or industry.”
The selected consultants will have to identify all lined and unlined canal parcels and distributary, minor canals that are suitable for canal-top solar power generation; and suitable power infrastructure located nearby, and select six sites. The deadline to submit proposals has been set for September 30.
According to a recent study from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the United States, solar canals are already competitive with ground-mounted PV. Solar plants on canals have already been successfully built in India, where this technology has shown that solar power can also be generated without occupying land and, at the same time, reduce water evaporation.
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