India Expands Concentrated Solar Power Capacity With 50 MW Project

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India’s project developers are finally delivering the concentrated solar power projects allocated to them in 2011. So far, three projects with a cumulative capacity of 200 MW capacity have been commissioned, and four other projects are yet to be commissioned.

The latest CSP project to be commissioned under the National Solar Mission is owned by Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited. The 50 MW project uses parabolic trough reflectors supplied by Siemens and is located in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The project was allocated to MEIL during the first auction of projects under the National Solar Mission in mid-2011. The project was supposed to be completed within two years but, like many other developers, MEIL failed to meet this deadline. Unfamiliarity with the solar thermal power technologies was amongst the major reasons for the repeated delays.

The power generated from the project will offset about 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the developer claims. As per NREL estimates, the project required an investment of about €230 million. MEIL and other project developers had filed a petition with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to consider a hike in the tariff, as the capital costs associated with solar thermal power projects have increased slightly over the last few years. While the tariffs of solar photovoltaic power projects has fallen significantly over the last few years, the tariffs for solar thermal power projects have actually increased but remain close to the levels quoted by the companies that placed bids under the National Solar Mission in 2011.

With a delay of 18 months in commissioning the project, developers would be pleased that the government and regulatory bodies have been lenient on them and have not slapped penalties potentially worth millions of dollars. Solar PV project developers who had failed to meet their deadline had to pay heavy penalties.

We also recently reported the completion of a 100 MW CSP project, also under the National Solar Mission. The project, owned by Reliance Power, is the world’s largest linear fresnel reflector CSP project.

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul 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.

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