The renewable energy capacity in Madhya Pradesh, which was next to nil a decade ago, has seen a rapid growth in the last five years. Availability of vast swathes of land and conducive climate coupled with fast-tracking of projects by the state renewable energy department is encouraging private companies, both domestic and global, to bid aggressively for new projects. While wind energy production currently exceeds solar power generation by a huge margin, officials said that Madhya Pradesh is on track to almost triple its solar power capacity in the next two years with several big-ticket projects under implementation. “We aim to enhance the current solar power capacity to 2 GW by the end of 2017,” state principal secretary, new and renewable energy, Manu Shrivastava told HT.
Falling costs of solar panels and equipment has led to a steep decline in tariff, coming on the back of low-cost Chinese photovoltaic cells. Canada-based SkyPower Global has offered power at Rs 5.05 per unit, the second lowest solar power rate in the country, from its yet to be completed solar project in the state. An international firm, with a solar plant in Andhra Pradesh, has proposed `4.63 per unit, the lowest. In June 2015, US-based SunEdison had launched its 50 MW advanced solar power plant in the Dammakhedi in Madhya Pradesh, having single axis tracker technology which enables the panel to rotate along with the sun, a first in the state. Welspun Energy Ltd (WEL) last year commissioned 130 MW solar park in Neemuch district.
Besides availability of vast tracts of barren land, Madhya Pradesh enjoys around 300 days of clear sun. The state has invited bids for preparing detailed project reports for solar parks in Neemuch-Mandsaur, Agar-Shajapur, Chhattarpur and Rajgarh-Morena districts. Apart from the solar parks, an ultra mega solar power project of 750 MW is coming up in Rewa. Major companies such as Suzlon, Inox, Windworld and Renew Power are also setting up wind farms in the state. At present, work is underway at a rapid pace on wind energy projects of over 6,000 MW capacity. The state’s renewable energy capacity has doubled in the last fiscal, with 1,261 MW wind power addition outstripping the 211 MW addition from solar energy. However, small hydro projects have been clearly out of favour. Capacity generation has been stagnant at 86.25 MW over the past four years.