Of the 1,000 MW installed capacity, it started generating 900 MW
In just about two years of its conception, much of the 1,000 MW Kurnool Ultra Mega-Solar Park (KUMSP) at Orvakal in Kurnool district, which is the world’s largest solar power plant at any single location, took shape and it is already generating 900 MW of the clean energy. The remaining installation is poised to be completed in a couple of months.
Spread over 5,812 acres of parched landscape at Gani and Sakunala villages, the KUMSP has a staggering 40,00,000 solar panels of 315 watts each currently producing 90% of the installed capacity and connected to the nearby four 220/33 kV pooling stations of 250 MW each and a 400 / 220kV grid substation through a maze of cables measuring a mammoth 2,000 circuit kilometres. These facilities have been created with a Central grant of Rs. 200 crore.
Taking visiting media persons around the facility, Principal Secretary (Energy) Ajay Jain said the National Thermal Power Corporation had floated the Notification-Inviting-Tender (NIT) in April 2015 and has, through reverse auction, shortlisted four developers – Sun Edison (M/s GreenKo) Soft Bank Energy, Azure Power and Prayatna Developers – who quoted a tariff of Rs. 4.63 per unit (kWh) in the open category.
After bundling, the tariff to DISCOMS will come down to Rs. 4 per unit. Coming to the sheer scale of the project, the KUMSP is bigger than two comparable projects in the world, namely the Adani Power’s 648 MW plant at Kamuthi in Tamil Nadu and the Topaz Solar Farm in California with a capacity of 550 MW. The Kurnool UMSP is producing eight million units of energy per day, which is enough to meet 80% of the district’s requirement.
Mr. Jain said the private developers had invested Rs. 6,000 crore and the Government of Andhra Pradesh has contributed Rs. 1,000 crore through the A.P. Solar Power Corporation Limited (APSPCL). A sum of Rs. 50 crore (Rs. 5 lakh per MW) has been collected from the developers for creating social infrastructure and Rs. 8 crore has already been disbursed.
Mr. Jain said the KUMSP is a major milestone in the A.P’s journey towards achieving the Central government’s objective of adding 175 Giga Watts (1,00,000 MW of solar, 60,000 MW wind and 15,000 MW of biomass and other such sources) of renewable energy by 2022.
The target set by A.P. stands at 10,000 MW of solar and 8,000 MW of wind energy in the given period. Before bifurcation, A.P. was in the seventh position in harnessing renewable energy. with just about 50 to 60 MW of installed capacity. Today it is No. 1 with 1,868 MW capacity followed by Rajasthan (1,812 MW), Telangana (1,287 MW) and Gujarat (1,250 MW).