The region has more exposure to sun’s rays than coastal districts
With huge tracts of an arid landscape and a maximum number of sunny days throughout the year compared to the coastal districts, the Rayalaseema region is poised for a revolution of sorts in the generation of solar energy with the 1,000 MW Ultra Mega Solar Park (UMSP) at Orvakal in Kurnool district taking the lead by producing 900 MW.
It is followed by the UMSP at N.P. Kunta in Anantapur district which is generating 250 MW of the total targeted installed capacity of 1,500 MW. Another 2,500 MW capacity is being created in Anantapur and Kadapa districts by the A.P. Solar Power Corporation Limited (APSPCL), which is a joint venture of the Solar Energy Corporation of India, AP-Genco and New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of A.P. (NREDCAP). “When the project is completed, Rayalaseema region will be contributing 4,000 MW (60%) of the generation of 10,000 MW of solar energy that A.P. has targeted for the coming five years”, said Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary (Energy) to the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Target by 2022
By 2022, India has aimed at a production of 1,00,000 MW of solar power of the total renewable energy basket (targeted) of 1,75,000 MW. In Rayalaseema, according to official sources, the ‘insolation’ (amount of solar radiation that reaches a particular area) is at an impressive 5.5 to 6 kWh per square metre per day which translates into a plant load factor of up to 24 %. The solar energy potential of A.P. has been pegged by the National Institute of Solar Energy at 38.5 Giga Watts.
As much as 73% (19,518 acres) of land so far acquired for the solar parks in Anantapur, Kadapa and Kurnool districts belongs to the government, which claimed that these land parcels are unfit for farming and hence chosen for establishment of solar parks. According to APSPCL CEO G. Adiseshu, the government has identified 26,744 acres for the mega solar parks which caught the fancy of major players in the renewable energy market, like the Japanese diversified conglomerate Soft Bank Group, Adani Power, Sun Edison and Azure Power. The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and AP-Transco are developing the required grid substations and pooling infrastructure. The proposed 100 MW storage facility in the Kadapa solar park is going to be the first of its kind in India.