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Over 30,000 houses to generate solar power in state

The state government plans to generate 60 MW power from rooftops by bringing in 30,000 houses under the project within the next three years.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: September 24, 2013 3:15:05 am

In the second phase of development of solar power projects in Gujarat,the state government plans to generate 60 MW power from rooftops by bringing in 30,000 houses under the project within the next three years.

Apart from houses,solar panels of about 20 MW capacity will be laid on the Narmada irrigation canal and solar-power high-speed pumps will be provided to farmers for irrigation in Gujarat.

“We will be covering 10,000 houses under the solar rooftop project every year for the next three years,” D J Pandian,principal secretary for energy and petrochemicals,Government of Gujarat,said while addressing a day-long conference on “The Future of Solar Energy in India”,jointly organised on Monday by Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI) and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Tenders for 5 MW rooftop solar power generation in each of the five cities,namely Rajkot,Mehsana,Bhavnagar,Vadodara and Surat,are waiting for approval from GERC,the official added. Currently,the state capital,Gandhinagar with 5 MW of solar rooftop generation capacity,is the only city to generate solar power from rooftops.

Gujarat,which has already commissioned 1 MW of canaltop solar power project on a 750-meter stretch of the Sanand branch canal of the Narmada project,is now planning to add 20 MW of additional canaltop solar power capacity by developing a project on the Narmada branch canal network in Vadodara.

“Unlike our 1 MW pilot project,we now have a lighter design. We have been successful in reducing the capital cost of our canal-top solar power by 80-90 per cent,” said Pandian,adding that the additional 20 MW of canal-top power will be set up through a competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile,AK Tripathi,director of Jawarhalal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM),Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE),said the municipal corporations of Surat,Rajkot and Gandhinagar were receiving monetary support from the Union Government for solar projects. JNNSM has received proposals from 45 municipal corporations to be part of the solar city project launched three years ago.

MNRE plans to commence Phase-II of the JNNSM with allocation of 750 MW of solar projects. The launch of phase-II depends on when India’s Cabinet approves a document submitted by the Ministry. “All our plans depend on money. Funding has been a concern even for the ministry,” Tripathi added.

“Moreover,the financial health of state discoms is hampering the growth (of solar power) and is increasing risks for investors,” he added.

Kanv Garg,South Asia Sustainable Energy team at the World Bank said 3,600 MW of solar only under JNNSM Phase-II would require around USD 6.4 Billion,and have a debt financing requirement of around USD 4.5 billion. Using Capital Subsidy / Viability Gap Funding (as suggested in draft regulations of Phase-II of JNNSM) might help in reducing the tariff as capital exposure for the lenders is reduced.

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