IIT Guwahati Startup’s Floating Photo voltaic Vegetation Preserve Water Too


Quant Photo voltaic Applied sciences, a clean-tech startup incubated on the Indian Institute of Expertise, Guwahati’s (IIT-G)’s cutting-edge Expertise Incubation Centre (TIC), has seemingly discovered a extra sustainable approach of harnessing the facility of photo voltaic power—floating photo voltaic know-how. 

Put in on water our bodies similar to dams and reservoirs, this piece of know-how can prohibit evaporation loss as much as 70%—a function significantly essential in water-scarce areas. These floating photo voltaic crops are gaining prominence because the third pillar of photo voltaic installations, complementing the well-established domains of rooftop photo voltaic and ground-mounted photo voltaic crops.

Chatting with The Higher India, Pankaj Kumar, co-founder and director, says, “Quant Photo voltaic Applied sciences was established in 2016. The inspiration behind founding this startup was pushed by the necessity to contribute to India’s financial growth and handle environmental considerations related to conventional power manufacturing. The motivation was to pioneer revolutionary and sustainable engineering options within the discipline of renewable power.”

“Our revolutionary startup isn’t nearly clear power but in addition about conserving water by containing evaporation; saving valuable land for higher utility, bettering energy technology as a result of cooling results of water and lots of extra. It is a monumental leap in the direction of environmental sustainability. With hundreds of reservoirs and large water our bodies in India, the potential is big and the chance to make an affect is unbelievable,” he provides. 

Floating solar panels
Floating Photo voltaic Panels from Quant Photo voltaic

Perks of floating photo voltaic crops

Siddhant Agarwal, co-founder and director, claims, “The choice to give attention to floating photo voltaic crops was motivated by their distinctive benefits. They save land, preserve water, and provide elevated power technology of energy as a result of cooling impact of water beneath the photovoltaic module, amongst different advantages. In contrast to rooftop or ground-mounted photo voltaic they’re put in on water our bodies, lowering evaporation loss by as much as 70%. This know-how effectively contributes to nationwide photo voltaic objectives whereas leaving zero footprint on the finish of the challenge lifecycle.”

Siddhant goes on so as to add, “In steering via the panorama of fresh power, Quant Photo voltaic has additionally launched a variety of merchandise embodying our dedication to innovation throughout the floating photo voltaic sector. We firmly consider that these developments won’t solely fulfil the rising power wants however may even make substantial contributions to environmental conservation.”

With regards to environmental conservation, Pankaj elaborates, “Floating photo voltaic crops play a vital position in water conservation by performing as a protecting cowl over the water floor.” 

“This distinctive design serves as a defend, lowering the direct publicity of daylight to the water beneath. The importance of this lies in its capacity to restrict the absorption of warmth by the water, successfully curbing the speed of evaporation,” he explains.  

In easier phrases, when daylight straight hits the water, it causes the water to soak up warmth, resulting in a rise in temperature and accelerated evaporation. Floating photo voltaic crops intervene on this pure course of by offering a barrier that forestalls extreme heating, and subsequently lowering evaporation. The significance of this function turns into evident in its multifaceted advantages, in accordance with Siddhant. 

“Firstly, by mitigating evaporation, these floating photo voltaic crops contribute considerably to the conservation of water our bodies. That is significantly very important in areas dealing with water shortage or the place water is sourced for numerous important functions,” he explains.  

“Additionally, the diminished evaporation facilitated by these crops helps preserve steady water ranges in reservoirs, guaranteeing a constant and dependable provide of water for numerous wants. Moreover, the power to preserve water aligns with rules of sustainable useful resource administration, guaranteeing that water sources are utilised judiciously and sustainably. Past quick advantages, the conservation of water our bodies positively impacts the atmosphere by preserving aquatic ecosystems, supporting biodiversity and sustaining ecological steadiness,” he provides. 

In essence, the revolutionary design of floating photo voltaic crops not solely harnesses clear power but in addition actively addresses environmental considerations by selling accountable water utilization. 

“This dual-purpose strategy contributes to the sustainable administration of water sources, making these photo voltaic crops a invaluable asset within the journey in the direction of a extra environmentally acutely aware and resource-efficient future,” claims Pankaj.

Chatting with Mercom India in Might 2023, Deepak Ushadevi, MD and CEO of Ciel & Terre India, stated, “We don’t face any points with water our bodies in India. In response to information, we’ve got 5,534 dams and reservoirs accessible. Even when we use solely 40% to 50% of them, we will generate over 200 GW of energy from these initiatives. As well as, we’ve got backwaters and each handbook and non-manual reservoirs, offering us with loads of choices. We are able to optimise capability utilisation by contemplating dams and reservoirs for floating photo voltaic and pure hydropower.”

Within the interview with Mercom India, Deepak went on to say, “ it from a cross-functional perspective, ground-mounted photo voltaic buildings require using purlins and rafters, together with piling work. Then again, we have to use anchoring, mooring and listening to anchors for floating photo voltaic initiatives to resist excessive winds, depths, waves, currents, water degree variations, droughts, floods and extra. It’s the most costly a part of the challenge. Nonetheless, we additionally get further technology capability over 25 years, which offsets the extra value.”

However what’s the common value of energy for floating photo voltaic initiatives? 

“The typical energy value is round INR 3.15 (~$0.038)/kWh- INR 3.3 (~$0.040)/kWh, which is the PPA (energy buy settlement) signing-off fee. Nonetheless, some variations could also be primarily based on the supply of modules, BCD (primary customs obligation), ALMM, (authorised listing of fashions and producers), and different elements that have an effect on transactions and trigger minor delays. The fee distinction between ground-mounted and floating buildings is just 7-10%, with the latter being barely dearer as a result of its know-how. Nonetheless, over time, the associated fee distinction can be offset by financial savings in operation and upkeep prices,” stated Deepak.   

Floating solar panels for India

Rising presence

Since its inception, Quant Photo voltaic has labored with a number of public sector enterprises, state authorities our bodies and personal corporations. It has additionally delivered India’s first megawatt scale floating photo voltaic plant of two MW capability put in in Mudasarlova reservoir positioned in Visakhapatnam in 2018 and one of many world’s largest Floating Photo voltaic Plant of 36 MW for NTPC.

So far, Quant Photo voltaic Applied sciences has commissioned shut to fifteen particular person floating photo voltaic initiatives throughout states together with Andhra Pradesh, which has the very best quantity, West Bengal, Karnataka, Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and union territories like Chandigarh.

The potential is huge. In response to a report by a New Delhi-based suppose tank The Power and Sources Institute (TERI), India’s reservoirs cowl 18,000 sq. kilometres with the potential to assist 280 GW of floating photo voltaic crops. 

Having stated that, putting in these floating photo voltaic crops comes with its challenges. These embody engineering for particular environmental circumstances, guaranteeing stability on water and addressing points associated to aquatic ecosystems. Upkeep entails common checks for the affect of climate circumstances, water high quality and the general structural integrity of the floating platforms.

With regards to aquatic ecosystems, critics consider that these photo voltaic crops may probably show problematic in the long term. Chatting with Mongabay India, TV Ramachandra, coordinator of the Power and Wetlands Group on the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), stated, “For an ecosystem to operate, its construction ought to be left intact. Spatial extent of the photo voltaic panels can alter the quantity of daylight getting into the system.”

“This could intrude with numerous ranges of [the] meals chain and biogeochemical cycles (water cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle) of the aquatic ecosystem. Floatovoltaics is an ad-hoc answer, which can show to be unsustainable in the long term,” he added. 

Floating solar panels hold key advantages
Aerial view of Quant Photo voltaic’s floating photo voltaic panels

Funding and assist

For essentially the most half, Quant Photo voltaic claims to give attention to in-house design, engineering, and analysis and growth capabilities for key elements just like the floating platform, photo voltaic panels, anchoring methods and {the electrical} system. “Whereas the corporate develops many elements domestically, some specialised elements could also be sourced globally primarily based on particular challenge necessities,” notes Pankaj whereas talking to The Higher India.

The beginning-up has additionally strategically aligned itself with international leaders by becoming a member of a consortium led by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), “a globally main high quality assurance and danger administration firm”, within the Netherlands. In response to Siddhant, this strategic collaboration cements Quant Photo voltaic as a key participant in shaping international requirements for floating photo voltaic crops.

“Relating to funding particulars, we remorse that particular data can’t be offered straight right now. Nonetheless, the traders in Quant Photo voltaic Applied sciences embody IIT-Guwahati and Union Financial institution of India. The consortium led by DNV within the Netherlands has performed a pivotal position in our development as a enterprise. This strategic collaboration has allowed us to align ourselves with international leaders within the clear power sector. Being a part of this consortium has not solely expanded our community however has additionally facilitated entry to cutting-edge applied sciences and business experience,” he says.

“It positions Quant Photo voltaic as a key participant in shaping international requirements for Floating Photo voltaic Vegetation, showcasing our technical prowess and making impactful contributions to the business,” he provides.

In the meantime, talking about Quant Photo voltaic Applied sciences, Professor Senthilmurugan Subbiah, chairperson of the IIT Guwahati – Expertise Incubation Centre (IITG-TIC) stated, “Quant Photo voltaic isn’t simply an rising start-up. It’s making important contributions to environmental sustainability.”

(Edited by Padmashree Pande; Pictures courtesy Quant Photo voltaic Applied sciences)


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