After a slow start, Odisha is seeing traction from private players in solar power.
“We have received proposals from five leading players who have proposed to set up 100 Mw capacity solar units each in the state. These include Mahindra Susten, Azure Power and Hero Future Energies”, said a Gridco official.
The proposed capacities of the renewable majors are in response to 200 Mw tender floated by Gridco, the state run bulk power purchaser.
Enthused by the response from the renewable majors, Gridco may increase the solar capacity by another 100 Mw under the green shoe option. The technical bids recently invited by Gridco were oversubscribed. Against the 200 Mw tender, the power trader got offers for 845 Mw from 14 bidders.
Gridco will enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the successful bidder for 25 years from the date of commercial operations.
Private sector interest in Odisha’s solar power sector had not seen enough traction until now as opposed to central PSUs who had a rush of proposals. NTPC, NLC Ltd, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) and SJVN, a mini-ratna PSU, have evinced interest in participating in the state’s solar park programme.
Odisha recently cleared a plan by NEEPCO to invest Rs 9.44 billion to set up a 200-Mw solar power plant. The unit is scheduled to start operations in December 2019. It has also provided in-principle clearance for 250 Mw solar power project proposed by NLC at the cost of Rs 45 million per Mw. The government has offered to sign a PPA with NLC.
The installed solar power capacity in Odisha is 93 Mw but the state sources about 75 Mw from outside. The latest tariff rate in Odisha for solar is Rs 4.5 per unit under a scheme of the new and renewable energy ministry. The tariff is on the higher side compared with states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh but the Odisha government expects it to fall after the renewed interest of proponents at competitive auctions. On the flip side, lower solar radiation in Odisha does not build its case for a deflationary tariff. 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. In Rajasthan, the comparable figure goes beyond 7 KWh per square meter.
However, the state’s ambitions run high in renewable energy generation. In its Renewable Energy Policy 2016, Odisha eyes 2200 Mw capacity in green power by 2022. Leading consultancy KPMG believes Rs 135 billion investment is needed to fuel that target.
SOURCE: BUSINESS STANDARD