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A total of 19 remote villages have been approved for creation of solar ‘mini grids’ to provide them access to power supply as of February 2017 in Chhattisgarh, the Central Government has informed.

Village mini-grids are important components of universal access to electricity in the country particularly for those villages where grid connectivity is either not feasible or not cost effective, it informed.

Under the RGGVY scheme launched by the Central Government for attainment of goal of providing access to electricity to all households, a provision of Rs540 crore has been kept as subsidy requirement for electrification of villages where grid connectivity is either not feasible or not cost effective for Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG) during 11th Plan period.

DDG may be from conventional or renewable or non-conventional sources such as biomass, bio fuel, bio gas, mini hydro, geo thermal, solar, etc.

The funding is on the pattern of 90% subsidy from Government of India and 10% loan from Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) or from own funds of the State/loan from financial institutions.

In a separate scheme, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides a subsidy of 30% of project cost subject to a maximum of Rs150/-per watt peak for installation of stand alone rural Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) power plants with battery storage in a micro grid mode/local distribution network under the Off-grid Solar Applications Scheme of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

This scheme is open to all the States and Union Territories. So far, one project of 20 kWp capacity standalone SPV micro grid project has been installed in the State of Jharkhand.

MNRE has released an amount of Rs30 lakh during 2009-10 for a 20 kWp stand-alone SPV power project at Jhargram village in Gumla district in Jharkhand. Rs.50 lakh and Rs.53 lakh were released during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively for a stand-alone SPV power plant in Village Jari, Gumla district in Jharkhand. During 2011-12, MNRE has sanctioned 533 kWp for SPV micro grid projects in the States of Uttar Pradesh(U.P) and West Bengal. An amount of Rs45 lakh has been released for projects in U.P.

The Central Government has approved 11.2 MWp of power generation capacity from grid connected roof-top solar power plants in Chhattisgarh as on January 31, 2017.

Nationally, an amount of Rs600 crore has been allocated for the projects under “Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar power Plants Programme” and Rs508.84 Crore has been released as on the aforesaid period, the Central Government has informed.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been promoting “Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme” with a Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of upto 30% of benchmark cost in General category States and up to 70 % in Special Category States, North Eastern States, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Residential, Institutional and Social sector are covered under this CFA pattern.

For Government Sector, achievement linked incentive up to Rs18,750/kWp in General Category States and Rs45,000/kWp in Special Category States , North Eastern States and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep is available under the Programme, it informed.

Notably, Chhattisgarh will procure additional power from renewable energy sources to the tune of approximately 700 MW by FY 2018, officials informed.

With this the average power purchase cost for Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd (CSPDCL) based on the above power availability will increase from 2.58 Rs/kWh in FY 2015-16 to 3.12 Rs/kWh in FY 2018, they informed.

The rates have been derived based on cost of power at existing rates and considering no escalation in power purchase cost since it is passing through for the distribution company. Notably, Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) has invested Rs400 crores during the last 11 years in developing infrastructure for solar power generation which had resulted in 40 MW of electricity being generated from non conventional energy sources. The agency will be installing a total of 10,000 submersible and surface solar photo voltaic (SPV) irrigation pumps in farm lands soon across the State.

The SPV Pumps shall be provided with lightening and over voltage protection. The principal aim in this protection is to reduce the over voltage to a tolerable value before it reaches the PV or other sub-systems components. The source of over voltage can be lightening or any other atmospheric disturbance, officials informed.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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