Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu are front runners among States that have grid connected solar power plants.
A total of 20 grid connected solar power plants with capacity of 1 megawatt (MW) or more have been commissioned in the country by July 2011, the Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah, informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Of the total capacity of 45.5 MW commissioned, Gujarat has 11 MW, Rajasthan 7.5 MW, Tamil Nadu 7 MW, Karnataka 6 MW, and Maharashtra 5 MW. Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi have 2 MW each, while Haryana, Orissa and West Bengal have 1 MW respectively. These are solar photovoltaic projects.
During 2010-11 about 800 MW capacity of grid connected solar power projects (both Photovoltaic and Thermal) were allotted by the Government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Most of these solar plants are being set up by the private sector on a build, own and operate basis, the Minister said. The average cost of a megawatt capacity grid solar power plant is in the range of Rs 12.5 crore to Rs 14.5 crore per megawatt.
The Minister said that the Central and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions have announced preferential tariff for purchase of solar power from the project developers. During 2010-11, the project developers signed power purchase agreements with respective state utility/distribution companies or NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam at a rate ranging from Rs 10.95/kWh to Rs 18.52/kWh, depending on the capacity of the plant and the agency signing the PPAs, he said.
Responding to a separate question, Dr Abdullah said that his Ministry has formulated a Strategy and Action Plan for the renewable energy sector covering the principal resources of wind, biomass, solar and small hydro.
This plan envisages renewable power generation capacity to increase to 72,400 MW by 2022, comprising 20,000 MW solar power, 38,500 MW wind power, 6,600 MW small hydro power and 7,300 MW bio-power. It also highlights the resource requirement for achieving the same, he said.
According to studies undertaken in the past there is an estimated potential of about 89,000 MW for power generation from different renewable energy sources. This is excluding solar, potential for which has been estimated in some parts of the country at around 30-50 MW/ sq km of open, shadow free area covered with solar collectors.
Against this potential, around 20,800 MW grid interactive renewable power generation capacity – 14,723 MW wind power, 3,133 MW small hydro, 2,898 MW biomass power, and 46 MW solar power – has been installed as on July, Dr Abdullah said.