Odisha more than halves solar park capacity to 400 Mw on land constraints

In a reprieve to Odisha, 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 after failing to identify a contiguous patch of 5,000 acres of land for developing the 1,000 Mw solar park, has submitted a detailed project report for setting up 400 Mw park. The government has proposed to develop this park in the cluster mode. The ministry has given the nod to the state to go ahead with the revised plan.

The 400 Mw solar park will be developed in four districts -- Sambalpur, Deogarh, Boudh and Sundergarh, with a total area of 2,000 acres.

"We have submitted the proposal to the ministry for the 400 Mw park for which we have identified the land. The ministry has approved it. We are modeling the tender document for develop the solar park", said an official in the know.

The state government is scouting for land for developing the balance 600 Mw and aims to submit DPR by December this year.

Odisha has been a laggard in developing solar parks along with Assam, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh, which have made a little progress in developing the parks allotted to them.

The development of the park assumes significance as the state, in its newly approved Renewable Energy Policy-2016, plans to add a capacity 2,200 Mw of solar energy by 2022. As per estimates by KPMG, this needs an investment of Rs 13,500 crore.

Lower solar irradiation is impeding Odsha's prospects of matching the plunging solar tariff rates in competing states. It receives an average solar radiation of 5.5 kWh/square meter area with an average CUF (capacity utilisation factor) of 15-17 per cent across the districts and around 300 clear sunny days every year. In Rajasthan, solar radiation goes beyond 7 kWh/sq m.

Private sector interest in Odisha's solar power has not seen enough traction as Central PSUs, which have made a beeline to put up projects in the state. After NTPC, NLC (formerly Neyveli Lignite Ltd) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (Neepco), SJVN Ltd, a mini-ratna PSU has evinced interest in participating in the state's solar park programme.

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