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Air Quality Rooftop Solar

Published on July 22nd, 2019 | by Saurabh


Delhi To Replace Retired Thermal Power Plant With Solar Project

July 22nd, 2019 by  

Rooftop Solar

Courtesy: MNRE, India

In its efforts to reduce air pollution, the Delhi government is taking steps beyond shutting down aging thermal power plants within city limits.

The government of the Indian capital city of Delhi recently announced plans to replace a retired coal-fired power plant with a solar PV power project. The thermal power plant has been non-operational for a couple of years and will make way for a 5-megawatt solar power plant, and a museum.

The Rajghat thermal power plant sits at the heart of the Indian capital city. The power plant was commissioned in 1989. Following the increased air pollution in the city, officials decided to shut down all coal-based power plants within city limits. The Rajghat power plant, with its low efficiency and aged technology, was among the first to be shut down. Another coal-fired power plant owned by India’s largest power generation company, and located at the city limits, has also been shut down.

While 5 megawatts may not sound a large project, it would be among the largest within Delhi due to the lack of large-enough open spaces within the city to support big solar power projects. Power distribution companies and large power consumers like the Delhi Metro, hospitals, and malls have opted for rooftop solar power projects, or have signed power purchase agreements with large-scale projects located in other states.

There have been reports in the past when state governments or private companies have announced plans to replace existing or planned thermal power plants with solar power projects. A significant announcement had come from the state of Punjab, which has little to no power generation resources of its own, like coal or gas and importing them from other states hugely increases the cost of generation.

India’s largest power generation company, NTPC Limited, set up several small solar power projects at its thermal power plants. The capacity of these solar power projects ranges from 5 megawatts to 25 megawatts. A very large area within these power plant complexes is used for disposal of ash. These ash dumps have now been reclaimed by setting up solar power projects, ecological parks (in case of NTPC Badarpur, located at Delhi’s limits), or museums (in case of Rajghat power plant).

While NTPC has installed solar power projects at its thermal power plants voluntarily, new Indian regulations now mandate thermal power project developers set up renewable energy projects equivalent to at least 10% of the planned thermal power capacity. The amended Indian Grid Code calls it the Renewable Generation Obligation.

With the air quality of Delhi being highlighted on a global scale, the government was forced to take several measures to reduce air pollution. Decommissioning the coal-fired power plants was among the first steps taken by the government. Other measures include the mandatory switch from diesel to compressed natural gas as a fuel for commercial vehicles, levying an environmental tax on all commercial vehicles entering Delhi, and suspension of all construction activities within and around city limits.


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An avid follower of latest developments in the Indian renewable energy sector.

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