NHPC to invest Rs 1,000 cr for 200 Mw solar project in Odisha

Photo: Reuters
Hydropower generation company NHPC Ltd has proposed to set up a solar project in Odisha with capacity in the range of 100-200 Mw.

The hydropower generator has expressed its willingness to set up the project under the 1,000 Mw solar power park scheme coming up in the state.

With this proposal, NHPC has joined the central PSUs that have made a beeline to put up projects in the state. NTPC, NLC (formerly Neyveli Lignite Ltd) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO), SJVN Ltd, a mini-Ratna PSU have evinced interest in participating in the state's solar park programme.

Besides, NHPC has also evinced interest for the setting of 100-200 Mw solar project in Odisha for bulk power purchaser Gridco to fulfil the latter’s renewable purchase obligation with assured PPA (power purchase agreement).

NHPC is currently executing a 50 Mw solar project in Tamil Nadu and a 72 Mw wind project in Kerala. The central PSU has already commissioned a 50 Mw wind power project in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

“PSUs are diversifying their business. They are betting big on solar energy and also for their commitment towards renewable purchase obligation”, said an official. Officials say 200 Mw project will entail an investment of about Rs 1,000 crore.

Odisha has a plan to develop a solar park with a production capacity of 1,000 Mw. But, land availability is the key hurdle as the mega park needs around 5,000 acres of land.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has allowed the state government to develop a truncated solar park of 400 Mw capacity under the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.

The state government is scouting for land for developing the balance 600 Mw. The development of the park assumes significance as the state government, in its newly approved Renewable Energy Policy-2016, plans to add 2,200 Mw capacity of solar energy by 2022. As per estimates by consulting & advisory firm KPMG, this needs an investment of Rs 13,500 crore.

Lower solar irradiation is impeding the prospects of Odisha to match the plunging solar tariff rates in competing states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Odisha receives an average solar radiation of 5.5 kWh/square meter area with an average CUF (Capacity Utilisation Factor) ranging from 15-17 per cent across the districts and around 300 clear sunny days every year while in Rajasthan, it goes beyond 7 kWh/square meter.

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