A mega solar park planned by Odisha has caught the attention of some of the top notch players in renewable energy business. SB Energy (formerly SBG Cleantech), a joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank Group, Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group and homegrown conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji are among major players keen to invest in the park. Others queued up for investments are Azure Power, Panchvaktra Holdings, Orange Renewable and SkyPower Global.
“We are looking at investment opportunities in Odisha’s planned solar park. But, we are awaiting some clarity to emerge from the state government on their efforts to acquire land and initiate bidding”, said an official of SB Energy. The Odisha government in association with the World Bank had recently organised an Investors’ Meet in New Delhi to pull investors for its solar park. A source at Shapoorji Pallonji said, “We had a brief meeting with the Odisha state officials on their solar park project. We are particularly interested to set up solar plant in areas not vulnerable to cyclonic storms and the ones with significant solar irradiation. Broadly, we are looking at a solar power capacity of 50 Mw and beyond.”
Some of the developers interested in participating in Odisha’s solar park have already bagged projects elsewhere in the country. SB Energy has won a 350 Mw solar project in Andhra Pradesh under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Delhi-based Orange Renewable has sealed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for a 100 Mw project in Maharashtra. The SECI website informs 33 solar parks are proposed across 21 states with a generation capacity totaling 19,900 Mw.
The Odisha government has set off an ambitious plan to develop 1,000 Mw solar park over 5000 acres of land. The park, to be developed on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, has been approved in-principle by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).Now, the state government is awaiting nod from the ministry on the final detailed project report (DPR) of the park. The benchmark generation cost is pegged at Rs 5.3 crore per Mw. Going by this cost estimate, the park can draw investments of about Rs 5,300 crore. The state government is expected to commit a provision to buy 20 per cent of the power generated from the park. Power producers would have an option to sell the remaining power out of Odisha at bilateral prices, upon securing the first right of refusal from the state government.
Since it is an uphill task to acquire a contiguous patch of 5,000 acres of land, the state government has opted for a cluster approach. “We are looking at acquisition of 400-500 acres or even smaller land patches of 100-200 acres for the solar park. The energy department has asked Idco (Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) to allot land for the solar park from its land bank. We have some investors expressing interest for the solar park and they mostly prefer to put up their units in the state’s western belt”, said Rajesh Verma, principal secretary (energy), Odisha government. The districts identified for the solar park are Balasore, Keonjhar, Deogarh, Boudh, Kalahandi and Angul. As per a plan about 650 Mw capacity is likely to come up at Balasore over 3200 acres of land. The balance 350 Mw is likely to come up in clusters at Keonjhar, Deogarh, Boudh, Kalahandi and Angul districts spreading over 2,000 acres.