Odisha’s solar power plans have gained traction with the several central public sector undertakings (PSUs) expressing their interest in participating in the state’s solar park programme.
So far, NTPC, NLC (formerly Neyveli Lignite Ltd), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) and the Mini-Ratna PSU SJVN Ltd, have evinced their interest in being a part of the programme.
The state government had recently cleared a plan by NEEPCO to invest Rs 944.85 crore in Odisha to set up a 200-MW solar power plant. The proposed unit is scheduled to start operations in December 2019.
It has also provided an in-principle clearance for another 250-MW solar power project proposed by the Chennai-based NLC at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore per megawatt.
“We have offered to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the NLC. The levelised tariff for power works out at Rs 3.85 per unit after factoring in annual hikes”, said Hemant Sharma, secretary (energy) with the Odisha government.
Meanwhile, NTPC has proposed to establish a 400-MW solar power project with an investment of Rs 2,200 crore in the state. The solar generation capacity may even go up to 1000 MW, depending on land availability.
However, SJVN is yet to firm its plans on participating in the programme.
According to Sharma, interest from private players in the state’s solar power has not gained momentum. However, the state government plans to invite tenders from private companies for building 200 MW of solar capacity through Case-I bidding where the developer would decide the location.
Odisha has proposed to develop a solar park with a production capacity of 1,000 MW. But, land availability is the key hurdle as it the mega park needs around 5,000 acres of land.
“It is difficult to get large patches of contiguous land. Even the land identified by the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) in Odisha was not found suitable for the solar park,” Sharma added.
Realising difficulty in acquiring lands, the state government has decided to develop the solar park in a cluster mode. The park, which is to be developed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, is likely to see an investment of Rs 5,000 crore. Along with 21 other states, Odisha has proposed to develop 34 solar parks that would have an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW in the country.