600 MW solar power on stream in Gujarat
In what could be described as a major achievement, more than 600 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity is now operational in Gujarat, which is by far the highest in the country, and exceeds the targets set by the state government.
Data provided by the energy department shows that 600.87 MW of solar power generation capacity has become operational in the state as of January 28.
"Solar power generation capacity of over 600 MW has been commissioned in the state as of January 28. This is a big achievement, particularly considering that all this capacity has come up in just about a year or so," energy minister Saurabh Patel said.
A number of solar power developers, including Ganges Green Energy, Tata Power, Alex Astral, Louroux Bio Energies, Millennium Synergy, GMR Gujarat, among others, which had approached GERC seeking extension in deadlines to start their units, are among the companies that have commissioned their units by January 28.
Patel said that an additional one million units of electricity were being fed into the grid with the commissioning of the solar units. The solar plants commissioned by January 28 would get tariff of Rs15 per unit for the first 12 years and Rs5 per unit for the subsequent 13 years. Following announcement of fresh tariffs by Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission, solar units commissioned on or after January 29 would get Rs9.98 for the first 12 years and Rs7 per unit for the subsequent 13 years.
The state government was expecting solar power generation capacity of 450 - 500 MW to become operational.
"We are pleasantly surprised," said principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department, DJ Pandian. He added that the capacity would rise further by around 100 MW in the next couple of months with the commissioning of more units.
The state power utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited had in 2010 signed power purchase agreements for solar power totaling 968.5 MW after announcement of the Gujarat Solar Policy in 2009. "Gujarat has taken the lead in solar power generation and shown that it's possible to tap solar energy in a big way. The other states could do well to take a leaf from the state's book in this regard," said Pandian.
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