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Clean Power Sunset in rural India

Published on September 3rd, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha

13

Indian State Telangana Issues 500 MW Solar Power Tender

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September 3rd, 2014 by  

Sunset in rural India

Credit: jkairvar (BY-NC-SA 2.0)

India’s thermal power plants are facing a serious fuel supply shortage leading to widespread load shedding across many states. Additionally, some private power producers have shut down production due to differences with utilities in a number of states. Power cuts and load shedding is a familiar occurrence for the southern states. The newest making adjustments, Telangana, has issued a large solar power tender in an attempt to bridge the gap between power supply and demand. 

The Telangana government has issued a tender to install 500 MW solar power capacity. The projects will be allocated through reverse auction, and the winners are expected to be announced by the end of this month. Once the winners are announced, and all agreements have been signed, the project developers will have only 10 months to commission their projects. 

The new state, which was carved out of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh has, since the beginning, urged the central government for assistance in power supply. According to media reports, the state requires about 4,000 MW of demand every day, while it can arrange for only 3,500-3,600 MW. Hence, the government is looking to develop large solar power projects to meet the excess demand. 

Ever since the division of the former Andhra Pradesh, the two new states have been locked into a battle of sorts to attract renewable energy investors. A 1,000 MW solar power project planned before the division is planned in a district which now sits insides the borders of Telangana. This motivated the Andhra Pradesh government to announce its own 1,000 MW solar power plant. The state also announced an ambitious plan to add 5,000 MW solar power capacity and 4,000 MW wind energy capacity by 2019. The Andhra Pradesh government had, only last month, issued its own 500 MW solar power tender

The need for solar power capacity in the southern states stems from the poor power availability in the region. The southern states are connected with the rest of India through a handful of power transmission lines, which results in huge congestion while power transmission. So, even if a state has surplus power or is willing to sell electricity to the southern states, the adequate transmission capacity isn’t there, or the prices are too high. 

The southern states are also home to large number of gas-fired power plants sitting idle for months for want of adequate fuel supply. The expected gas supplies from one of the biggest gas fields in the country, the Krishna-Godavari basin, never came. 

The healthy competition between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is a boon for the solar power project developers, and the solar power sector as a whole. Capacity addition is expected to zoom again after months of lull during the final months of the previous government. 

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About the Author

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.



  • Brian Donovan

    India needs to got distributed solar and waste to fuels to back it up.

    Big projects are the wrong concept. Big solar strains the grid, kills the land and enriched the few. Rooftop solar is the way to go. Those gas turbines are the perfect backup using waste fuels.

    • Ruthvik Enganti

      Yes Brian, they should opt for CSP-Hybrid plants(Concentrated Solar+ Biomass) which has high efficiency and reliability (irrespective of weather), and faster ROI when compared to ground installations. otherwise it will not be able to meet the current and future demand.

      • Brian Donovan

        what do you mean Concentrated Solar?

      • Brian Donovan

        Solar PV is better. Distributed is better. Lots of Indian have no grid, so CSP is useless, and very expensive.

        • Ruthvik Enganti

          I agree to the fact that there are a lot of challenges with regards to the grid infrastructure, however I was referring to the choice of powerplant they are opting for. And yes rooftop PV are a good option but it’s upto the consumer behavior. And in the current realistic scenario considering the subsidies and support mechanisms which are offered, general public are unwilling to spend on rooftop pv, it is rather considered as more of a luxury

          • Brian Donovan

            Give the big gov cheese directly to the people for purchasing the solar panels and the laptop, that is the light, the WiFi com, and battery storage. Less than 500$.

            Not to big company grid operators and long distance grids lines for a place with no grid to speak of anyway. Top down is the wrong way.

            Just a solar panel, a dcdc converter and a laptop.

            Then build up from there.

            Poor people are paying a lot for energy and electricity if they can get it.

          • Ruthvik Enganti

            In an Ideal Condition “Yes it is possible”, BUT when we follow a bottom up approach in a country like India where corruption and scams are very high, it would be impossible to monitor whether these schemes have really reached public.

          • Brian Donovan

            There just as much a chance of corruption on the big grid to nowhere as lots folks getting substandard panels and laptops, But it more likely some of the distributed ones will be worth it and people will get them.

            People will own their own electricity, they will join the laptops together using free wifi peer to peer networks, they will have light and connect to the world, do business all over the world. They will have the internet. The state will have to leave some way for them to connect to the internet cheap/free to the poor.

            That will create an explosion of creativity and business. A billion more internet users, wow.

          • Ruthvik Enganti

            Yes, further subsidies of the panels and net metering (Which has already been proposed) if properly implemented will definitely give a boost in roof top PV installation,

            Food and employment for the poor is currently a priority rather than laptops and internet, and inorder to use the laptop, they must be educated, and forget about the WiFi.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Micro-solar is the quick and cheap way to get power to the poorest and furthest from the existing grid. MIcro-solar has been wildly successful in Bangladesh and now seems to be taking off in India. (And other parts of the world.)

            It takes little education to use a laptop and India’s children are starting to get a basic introduction in their schools. As the “$35 tablet” spreads the young will teach the older. This is how you quickly educate vast numbers of people. You can teach very important lessons to illiterate individuals if you can get the information to them in video form. And you can use the tablet/internet to make them literate.

  • Calamity_Jean

    Rooftop solar would help also. I understand that some wealthier Indians have gasoline or diesel generators to provide power during outages. The state should promote grid-connected rooftop solar with a few hours worth of battery storage as competition for generators. It would be cheaper in the long run for the homeowners and would help reduce power outages for the state.

    • Ruthvik Enganti

      the state has announced the implementation of net metering in the last year, however it would take more than 2 years for this to get visible.

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