Indian engineering, procurement, and construction firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has clinched a contract to construct a 75MW floating solar plant on the Panchet Dam in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, marking a significant stride in India's renewable energy ambitions.
The project forms part of the Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Park initiative at the dam, a key component of the Indian government's concerted efforts to expedite the development of clean power projects nationwide. Under this initiative, the government provides financial coverage for up to 30% of the project's construction costs. Since its inception in 2014, the initiative has facilitated the construction of 37.9GW of solar capacity across the country.
L&T's power transmission and distribution division will spearhead the construction of the floating solar plant, with the project estimated to carry a total value ranging between US$333.8 million and US$667.6 million. This endeavor follows L&T's recent involvement in the sixth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum project in the UAE, boasting a formidable capacity of 1.8GW.
While the equipment manufacturer for the project remains undisclosed, L&T has confirmed that the plant will be situated on reservoirs developed by the Damodar Valley Corporation, a key player in dam construction within the region.
The announcement signals the latest progression in India's burgeoning floating solar sector, complementing state-owned power company SJVN's plans to construct a 90MW project in Madhya Pradesh last year. Although floating solar's contribution to the global solar industry remains modest in terms of capacity, mounting interest in this renewable energy source is evident, with projections by Wood Mackenzie indicating a potential installation of over 6GW of capacity by 2031.
L&T's undertaking not only fortifies the Indian renewables landscape but also addresses the government's aspirations to bolster renewable energy utilization. According to government data, renewables met 30.2% of India's power demands in 2023, with solar alone accounting for 16.1% of electricity generation. The government's interim budget proposal underscores efforts to rebalance the energy mix, with a focus on incentivizing the rooftop solar sector, aiming for a more sustainable and diversified energy portfolio.