Rs 20,000 cr solar energy project for Gujarat
A Business Correspondent
Clinton Foundation, USA, is planning to develop what could be
by far the world's largest solar energy project in Gujarat. The project will be
an integrated solar city with a capacity of 5 gw—five times the size of the
current largest solar project in Mojave Desert, USA, being developed by
BrightSource, with an eventual capacity of up to 900 mw.
The facility is expected to cost Rs 20,000 crore (about $475 million) and will
produce raw materials and manufacture panels on site. This is expected to reduce
costs so that the power produced at the site will cost about Rs 4 ($0.10) per
(unspecified) unit. It has not been disclosed whether the project would employ
solar photovoltaic or solar thermal technology.
The Gujarat government is considering a location in Kutch or Banaskanta. The
project, tagged as one of the largest foreign direct investment in the state,
will also be a landmark project as the cost of power generation is likely to be
70 per cent less than the conventional cost of generation, say sources. All the
raw materials, including glass and panels, will be produced by them, bringing
down the cost substantially. Gujarat has roped in US-based Nobel Laureate John
Byrne to chart the state's solar roadmap.
The project will be significantly larger than fossil fuel power plants. At about
five times the capacity of a typical coal or nuclear plant, it woill be a big
step towards making solar power a greater part of India's power mix.
Clinton Foundation is also in talks with governments of Andhra Pradesh and
Rajasthan to set up solar power projects. A number of corporate houses,
including Essar, Indiabulls, Reliance, ADAG, Tata Power, Suryachakra, and Euro
Group have also lined up solar projects. Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance and
Euro Solar have already been given letters of intent of 5 mw each from the 10 mw
quota allotted by the Centre to each state.
[August 25-31, 2008]