D.J. Pandian shares his views on the mega solar park and the power scenario in Gujarat during the recent inauguration of a 10-MW solar power plant of NKG Infrastructure Ltd at Gujarat Solar Park at Charanka in Patan district of the state. The solar park has been developed by Gujarat Solar Park Ltd, an SPV promoted by Gujarat State Power Corporation Ltd in association with the strate Energy and Petrochemicals Department. Interview by V. Venkatesh.
What is special about the Gujarat Solar Park?
All these years, solar energy was tapped for streetlights and hot water using rooftop models. For the first time in Asia, the Gujarat government has successfully set up a facility to generate energy using solar on a large scale.
What initiatives did the government take to make this happen?
The Gujarat government took the following initiatives:
Proper infrastructure for power evacuation: Today, the Gujarat government has 1,149 substations and intends to add 100 more substations every year for the next five years to enable maximum evacuation of power. This is one of the major steps taken by the state government for ensuring optimum evacuation of power generated by the solar power plant. In Charanka village in Patan district, the government has developed three transmissions lines, 21KVA, 66 KVA & 220 KVA, to transmit power to end users.
Land allocation: The 600-MW solar power park requires 5,000 acres out of which the Gujarat government owns 2,500 acres and it is in the process of acquiring another 2,500 acres from local farmers.
What is the quantum of imported machinery in this solar park?
The state government has imported 50 per cent of machinery.
What is the installed capacity of power in Gujarat and what are the future plans in the state?
The installed capacity of power in Gujarat is 13,729 MW and the break-up is thermal (8,000 MW), wind (2,879 MW), nuclear (2,000 MW) and hydel (850 MW). In the next one year, the government plans to add 5,000 MW.
The peak demand of power in the state is 15,000 MW on an annual basis.
How does Gujarat aim to become self sufficient in power generation?
The state government is taking steps to add 5,000 MW of additional power by tapping solar in a big way and also encourage companies to set up new units for solar panels. The government is also exploring the possibility of setting up a 50-MW solar thermal power project in the state.
Is the state government keen to tap other renewable sources of energy?
The government is exploring offshore tidal wave and Suzlon is tapping offshore wind to generate power in the state.
What is the prevailing price of fuel per MW?
The cost of fuel per MW is as follows: gas (sourced from local sources costs 3.50/MW against imported gas of 6 while the cost of nuclear and hydel is 1.90 and 1.65 per MW, respectively.
Has any new private developer come forward to set up solar power plants?
The Gujarat government has signed MoUs with Azure Power and SunEdison to develop new solar power plants each with a capacity of 2.5 MW.
Gujarat has signed power purchase agreements with 22 private developers to set up solar power plants in the Gujarat Solar Park, out of which the following eight developers are implementing their projects —SunEdison India – 25 MW, Alex Astral Power – 25 MW, Kiran Energy – 20 MW, GMR Gujarat Solar Power Pvt. Ltd – 25 MW, Emami Cement Ltd – 10 MW, Azure Power India Pvt. Ltd – 5 MW, Roha group headed by Ramakant J. Tibrewala, in association with Ajay Devgn and Kumar Mangat – 25 MW, and NKG Infrastructure Ltd – 10 MW.