Tamil Nadu set to tap Solar power

After taking the lead in wind energy, Tamil Nadu has taken the first step to be a pioneer in generation of solar power by inviting private developers with incentives. The Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) has now closed the bids for setting up of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants of capacity ranging from one megawatt to five MW on a build, own and operate (BOO) basis.“Project developers who have submitted the bids have asked for a few clarifications. The government will clarify the developers’ doubts on August 13 and 14. The process of finalising the tenders will be over by August-end and recommendations will be sent to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for clearance,’’ said sources in the secretariat. Tamil Nadu is already a pioneer in tapping wind energy with an installed capacity of over 3000 MW. But solar power plants are new to the country. If the experiments succeed, solar energy could be tapped for nearly 300 days a year, said experts. “Unlike wind turbines that generate power only when there were strong winds, solar energy will be available all around the year,’’ said an official from TEDA, the nodal agency in Tamil Nadu dealing with projects on renewable energy in the state.“It was with speculation surrounding renewable energy sources that the first wind turbines were set up in Tirunelveli district years ago. Now, the state is a leader in tapping wind energy. With appropriate policies, the state will aim to be the topper in harnessing solar power as well,’’ the official added.The solar plants have been proposed under the centre’s grid interactive solar power plant scheme which hopes to enable each state to set up 10 MW of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal plants.Under the scheme, solar power plants with a minimum installed capacity of one MW per plant at a single location will be eligible for generation-based incentive. Developers can, in fact, set up projects up to a maximum of 5 MW capacity, either through a single project or multiple projects with a minimum capacity of one MW each. The cost of setting up a one MW solar photovoltaic plant is estimated at Rs 22 crore and for a one MW solar thermal plant, it is likely to be Rs 20 crore. Nearly 12 acres are needed for setting up one MW solar plant. The plants would have to become operational by December 2009 to avail themselves of the generation-based incentive offered under the guidelines, said official sources, emphasising that it would take nine months to one year for solar projects of such a scale to be commissioned.“We want to ensure that there is no delay from the government side,’’ said a senior official. The Centre will provide an incentive of Rs 12 per kilowatt-hour solar photovoltaic power and Rs 10 per kilowatt-hour for solar thermal power fed into the grid. The bidders’ minimum eligibility criteria include Rs 25 crore turnover, net worth of Rs eight crore, and a free cash flow of Rs six crore.Bidders who are not manufacturers of major components of solar power-related products can have an exclusive tie-up with relevant manufacturers. Consortiums are not allowed to bid. Expected investment from private sector is Rs 1,000 crore

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where is a good place in Tamil Nadu to set up a solar power plant using PV cells since I've read that only western and central India are the best places in terms of getting sunlight.