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Ultra-Mega Solar Power Park to come up in Maharashtra

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    18th Apr, 2022

Context

Maharashtra government recently approved a joint venture between state-run MahaGenco and India’s largest power generator NTPC which will set up an ultra-mega solar power park with a total generation capacity of 2,500 MW.

About

What is Solar Park?

  • A solar park is a large chunk of land developed with all necessary infrastructure and clearances for setting up of solar projects.
  • The capacity of solar parks is generally 500 MW and above.
  • However, smaller parks (up to 20 MW) are also considered in states or Union Territories (UTs), where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of difficult terrain and where there is acute shortage of non-agricultural land.

Solar power is a major prong of India’s commitment to address global warming according to the terms of the Paris Agreement, as well as achieving net zero, or no net carbon emissions, by 2070.

Key-highlights of the Joint Venture:

  • The Rs 1,727-crore project proposal, kick started in 2020.
  • Capital investment: National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (or its subsidiary) and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) will have a capital investment of 50:50, respectively, for the development of Ultramega Renewable Solar Park.
  • The parks are proposed to be developed under engineering, procurement and commissioning (EPC) contracts in 3 stages on lands owned by the MAHAGENCO, and others belonging to the state, centre or privately owned properties for the mega-venture.
  • Nodal agency: The state energy department has been appointed as a nodal agency for project development.
  • The JV has been bestowed with the responsibility of adhering to the state’s renewable energy policy during the implementation of the proposed solar park.
  • A lumpsum fee from the project holder in the solar energy parks, operation and maintenance fees, etc shall be charged.
  • For non-conventional energy sources, 17,360 MW capacity generation projects shall be developed by March 21, 2025, which would include 12,930 MW of solar power projects.
  • These projects would create 7,500 jobs during construction and 5,000 during operations, boost local economies, help provide clean and cheap energy to the consumers, reduce greenhouse effects and carbon footprints while providing affordable alternatives to conventional but expensive fossil fuels.

About National Thermal Power Corporation Limited:

  • NTPC Ltd. is a central Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Power.
  • It is India’s largest energy conglomerate with roots planted way back in 1975 to accelerate power development in India.
  • Aim: To provide reliable power and related solutions in an economical, efficient and environment-friendly manner, driven by innovation and agility.
  • It became a Maharatna company in May 2010.
  • It is located in New Delhi.

Progress made so far

  • India currently ranks fifth after China, U.S., Japan and Germany in terms of installed solar power capacity.
  • As of December 2021, the cumulative solar installed capacity of India is 55GW, which is roughly half the renewable energy (RE) capacity (excluding large hydro power) and 14% of the overall power generation capacity of India.
  • Within the 55GW, grid-connected utility-scale projects contribute 77% and the rest comes from grid-connected rooftop and off-grid projects.
  • Capacity approved: based on the proposals received from the states, 52 solar parks with a cumulative capacity of 37.92 GW has been approved to 14 states up to November 2021.
  • These solar parks are at different stages of development.
  • The top four operational solar parks in India, as of November 2021, include:
    • Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan
    • Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka
    • Kurnool Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh
    • Rewa Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh

World’s Largest Announced Solar Park  (Dholera, Gujarat)

  • Around 80km from Ahmedabad, Gujarat aims to establish India’s largest 5,000 MW solar park at Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR), and part of the centre’s flagship Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
  • Floating Solar Park
  • NTPC Renewable Energy Limited (NTPC REL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of NTPC, has received the go-ahead from the ministry to set up 4,750 MW renewable energy park at Rann of Kutch in Khavada, Gujarat.
  • This will be India’s largest solar park to be built by the largest power producer of the country.
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