Welspun Energy, part of the $3.5 billion Welspun Group, has commissioned the largest solar power plant in the India to date. The project is part of the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). A total of 490 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity was allocated in the first phase of the National Solar Mission in two batches. Projects with combined capacity of 140 MW from the first batch have already been commissioned and the balance 350 MW, of the second batch, will be fully commissioned by the middle of the year.
The project is located in the north-western state of Rajasthan and has a capacity of 50 MW. According to a statement issued by the company, the project was commissioned in a record time of five months. The project is expected to feed 83.22 million kWh of electricity into the grid every year, enough to cater the demand of 25 million homes. The project will also offset about 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
Before this project, the largest solar PV projects in India had the capacity of 40 MW. These projects were owned by Adani Power and Reliance Power. Both the companies are among the largest private power generating companies in India. The project owned by Adani Power was commissioned under the solar policy of the western state of Gujarat, a pioneer in India’s endeavour to boost its solar power infrastructure. Reliance Power, part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, had set up its project in Rajasthan and is electricity generated from it is being used by another subsidiary of the group, Reliance Infrastructure, to fulfil its Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).
The project is not likely to carry the title of the ‘largest PV project in India’ for long. A 150 MW PV project is expected to be commissioned in the western state of Maharashtra soon. Additionally, Welspun Energy itself is will soon start work on a 130 MW project in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The company has already secured finance of $161 million for this project.
India is expected to see substantial solar power capacity addition this year. About 470 MW of solar thermal power projects under the first phase of the National Solar Mission are scheduled to be commissioned this year. Additionally, several solar PV projects allocated by state governments are also expected to be implemented this year.
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had set a target to add 800MW solar power capacity between April 2012 and March 2013. While India is not expected to achieve this target, a major part of the almost 1,200 MW solar power capacity allocated over the last three years is likely to be cover up the shortfall over the next few months.
The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.