MUMBAI: Maharashtra will embark on setting up new solar plants across districts to generate 12,000MW renewable energy in the next six years, MSEDCL managing director Vijay Singhal announced on Friday.
This will ensure there is no shortfall in electricity supply due to growing demand for power across the state, especially during summer months when consumption has peaked to over 28,000 MW recently.
Singhal said that the key focus will now be on solar, wind and renewables, especially after the state received a huge investment of Rs 50,000 crore for renewable energy signed with ReNew Power, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies, at Davos earlier this week. He said this will be a “game-changer” for the state, with a good mix of existing thermal and renewable energy which will cater to over 2.8 crore consumers across Maharashtra.
The state presently generates up to 9,000 MW from various thermal units and hydro and solar plants. This is besides power purchase agreements with private suppliers from whom it procures around 8,000 MW daily. “The additional 12,000 MW from the new solar plants will add to the power stock and reduce power purchase costs in future,” Singhal said.
With thermal power now procured for Rs 3.50 to Rs 4.50 per unit, the cost of solar will be much cheaper — at Rs 2.25 per unit and this could reduce the monthly tariff as well. Besides, it will be non-polluting and assure uninterrupted supply, he said.
Singhal further announced that smart meters were coming in a big way across the state, with massive procurement of 28 million smart meters to be installed in the next three years. “These will be prepaid meters where you pay for the consumption in advance and if bills are not paid the meter shuts down automatically. It will prevent thefts and deter people from not paying monthly electricity bills,” he said.
Sources said that the MSEDCL was in talks with a Swiss company for buying smart meters at affordable prices in bulk.
MSEDCL’s main concern was recovery of money from consumers, with arrears rising to Rs 65,000 crore lately.