New Delhi, Dec. 30 Solar power projects, which have so far been in the fringes of the energy portfolio on account of viability issues, could finally see some scaling up.
New solar thermal and grid-interactive solar photovoltaic (PV) projects on the anvil include NTPC Ltd’s plans for a 10-MW solar field at its Anta power project site in Baran, Rajasthan.
Another 10 MW demonstration project, proposed by Gurgaon-based Acme Tele Power, is likely to come up near Nagpur in Maharashtra while the Clinton Foundation is exploring the possibility of setting up an “integrated Solar City” in Kutch.
The largest solar photovoltaic plant in India has a capacity of around 200 kilowatt (kW), a fraction of the size that some of these new projects are targeting in order to achieve economies of scale. Indicative tariffs from some of these projects are around Rs 10 a unit, as against tariff of over Rs 15 a unit in case of current projects.
NTPC – the country’s largest power generator – has installed a 10.5 kW silicon PV module at Jaraha Chetwa near its Rihand power station in Uttar Pradesh, while more PV systems are being planned.
“We are interested to look for a solar energy addition as complementary heat source and fuel saver in the existing power plant in Anta, to begin with. The feasibility study would be financed through a grant issued to the Government of India by KfW Entwicklungsbank under the German-Indian Financial Co-operation,” an NTPC official said.
According to the official of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the proposed 10 MW solar plant in Nagpur will demonstrate the effectiveness of solar energy as a feasible option, with the generated power proposed to be wheeled onto the grid.
The Centre has approached the State Government, which through the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation is in the process of allotting around 80 acres near the city for the facility.
“The incorporation of scale in solar projects would eventually bring down costs, and thereby tariffs. While Indian projects are beginning to scaling up now, they pale in comparison to the developments abroad,” an official said.
Currently, the largest solar energy project in the world is a solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert being developed by BrightSource, with an eventual capacity of up to 900 MW. The largest photovoltaic plant, which is in Spain, produces 60 MW, though a 62 MW PV installation (Moura photovoltaic power station) is under construction in Portugal and a 154 MW PV solar power station in Victoria, Australia, is planned.