“Better late than never” seems the apt description for the recent project completion for the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant using linear fresnel reflector technology.
A subsidiary of one of the leading private power generation companies, Reliance Power, this week announced that it has commissioned a 100 MW CSP project in the western state of Rajasthan. The project was allocated to the company during the first round of auction under the National Solar Mission in 2011 and was supposed to be completed by mid-2013.
The project developer claims that the project can generate up to 280 GWh of electricity every year and can offset over 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over a period of 10 years. Based on Areva’s linear fresnel reflector technology, the project required an investment of $330 million, part of which was sourced from a group of banks that included the US Ex-Im Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
A total of 470 MW of solar thermal power capacity was allocated during the one and only auction under the National Solar Mission to have included solar thermal technology. All seven projects failed to meet the initial commissioning deadline and filed several petitions with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as well as the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). The government authorities were sympathetic to these pleas as developers expressed difficulties in working with such complex and new technologies. These projects were among the very first solar thermal power projects attempted by Indian project developers.
While the company was allocated 100 MW capacity through auction, it had plans to set up an additional 25 MW capacity of power that would be sold to another subsidiary of the company responsible for the distribution of electricity in one of the metro cities.
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